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hot ri h Inuarv 
died April XIV 



C! Ff'Abdy Williams 

M A. Cantab. ; Mus. Bac. Oxon. et Cantab. 

Illustrations and Portraits 

London: J. M. Dent & Co. 

New York : E. P. Button & Co. 

r 3 7 


First Edition printed March 1901. 
Second Edition printed December 1904 


MANY accounts have appeared of the life of the great 
Saxon Musician who left his fatherland in the eighteenth 
century in order to settle among us. Handel naturalised 
as a British subject, and so identified his music with the 
English character, that not only is his name a household 
word amongst us all, whether musical or unmusical, but 
in the " Dictionary of National Biography " he is given a 
place as an English composer, and his remains lie in the 
" Poets' Corner " of Westminster Abbey. 

The following account is an endeavour to give a popular 
narrative of the chief events of his life, without entering 
much into technicalities which, though interesting to the 
musician, are not perhaps so necessary for the general 
reader. The exhaustive treatises of Dr Chrysander, M. 
Victor Schcelcher, and the late Mr Rockstro are full of 
details and discussions of the greatest interest and value 
to the student who wishes to go deeply into the works of 
the great composer. 

I have avoided the irritating attempts of Hawkins and 
others to represent Handel's pronunciation of the English 
language by a spelling which makes many words almost 
unintelligible : it is sufficient that the reader should know 
that Handel's pronunciation of English, like that of many 
foreigners, was imperfect, and that its imperfections 


chiefly consisted of using d in place of t; g in place 
of hard c ; p in place of b, etc. 

Original MSS. and small portions of the personal 
property of Handel, carefully preserved by their present 
private owners, are often exhibited to the public: for 
instance at the International Exhibition of musical instru- 
ments at the Crystal Palace in 1900, a special "Handel 
Collection " was shown, in which might be seen his watch, 
the autograph of his will, portions of his scores, a set of 
orchestral instruments in use in his time, contemporary 
play-bills and engravings, etc. 

In order to interrupt the course of the narrative as 
little as possible, I have dealt with the compositions in a 
couple of short chapters at the end, and in a Glossary I 
have given an outline of the life of some of the chief 
characters who came into connection with Handel. 

I take this opportunity of thanking those gentlemen 
who have been kind enough to assist me ; especially the 
Town Authorities of Halle, who caused two excellent 
photographs to be taken for this work (pages 6 and 183); 
Mr F. J. H. Jenkinson, Librarian of the Cambridge 
University Library, who gave me special facilities, without 
which the publication of my book would have been much 
delayed; and the Rev. H. E. Robertson, Rector of Whit- 
church, for the photograph of the organ at Whitchurch 
(page 70); also to Messrs C. Scribner & Sons for per- 
miaoion to reproduce some pictures from their Cyclopsedia 
of Music. 

BRADFIELD, February 1901. 





The condition of music and musicians at the end of the seventeenth century */ 
Handel's ancestry His birth and childhood Visits Weissenfels 
Becomes a pupil of Zachau Visits Berlin Becomes organist of a 
church in his native town .......* 


The Singspiel and Opera at Hamburg Keiser Handel joins the Opera at 
Hamburg Journey to Liibeck Matheson Handel fights a duel 
His first Opera Description of Almira His second Opera, Nero 
Keiser endeavours to rival Handel Florindo Handel goes to Italy 
Florence, Rome, Venice RodrigoAgrippina Enthusiasm of the 
Venetians ........ 18 


Rome The " Arcadians" Ottoboni's Academy La Resurrezione 
Contest with Scarlatti Attempt to convert Handel to the Roman 
Faith// Trionfo del 7Vz/0 Handel leaves Rome for Naples Act, 
Galatea e Polifemo Boschi, the bass singer Handel's social life at 
Naples Leaves Naples for Rome Leaves Rome for Venice Goes 
to Hanover, and thence to London .... 37 


The condition of opera in England The public demand for something better ^ 
Handel produces Rinaldo Thomas Britton, the small coal man 
Handel returns to Hanover The Opera at Hanover Handel obtains 
leave of absence Produces // Pastor Fido in London His life at 
Burlington House TeseoOde for the Birthday of Queen Anne 
" Utrecht " Te Deunt and Jubilate Coronation of George I. . 47 




The Elector of Hanover becomes George I. of England Handel dares not 
meet him Silla Amadigi Parody on Amadigi Water Music 
Handel is received by George I. A letter to Matheson Handel goes 
to Hanover with the King Meets J. C. Smith Returns to England 
and becomes Capellmeister at Canons Esther, Acis and Galatea 
The Harmonious Blacksmith Legends Death of Handel's sister He 
is engaged by the Royal Academy of Music ... .62 


Handel goes to Dresden to collect singers Visits his family The Royal 
Academy of Music begins work Radamisto Rivalries begin 
Muzio Scevola Floridante Swift's sarcasm Bononcini's admirers 
Cuzzoni Flavio Presentment by the Grand Jury against 
Ridottos Giulio Cesare Tamerlano1\& fashion of publishing 
Handel's operatic airs adapted to sacred words . . . 8c 


Handel becomes a householder Plays at St Paul's before the Royal Prin- 
cesses Letter to Michaelsen Handel becomes a British subject 
Scipio Alessandro Faustina and Cuzzoni Senesino has an 
accident Rival parties Admeto An opera stopped by hisses and 
catcalls Senesino retires Bononcini again engaged to write an 
opera Death of George I., and accession of George II. Handel's 
salary is continued by the new king Coronation anthems Riccardo 
Sirae Tolomeo Beggar's Opera . . 97 


Bononcini attacks Handel Collapse of the Royal Academy of Music 
Handel goes into partnership with Heidegger Goes to Italy to find 
fresh singers Lotario, Parthenope> Poro, Orlando Gates performs 
Esther Handel protects himself by performing Esther Arne per- 
forms Acis Handel is forced to protect himself from Arne Senesino 
deserts him for the rival opera, under Bononcini Handel takes to 
oratorio Deborah Attack by Rolli Another by Goupy . 113 




Handel goes to Oxford Prejudice of some of the Dons against theV 
"Foreigner" Popularity of his music at Oxford He refuses the 
degree of Doctor in Music offered him Further efforts to ruin him 
Handel in conflict with the aristocracy Collapse of Bononcini 
J Arbuthnot's satire in defence of Handel Arianna Carestini comes 
to England The engagement with Heidegger ends Handel engages 
a smaller theatre Alexander ' s Feast Arminius Giustino Handel 
is bankrupt Simultaneous collapse of the rival opera-house . . 130 


Handel returns from Aix-la-Chapelle Is threatened with imprisonment for 

debt Death of Queen Caroline Statue in Vauxhall Royal Society ""I 
of Musicians Saul Israel in Egypt St Cecilia's day IS Allegro, J 
il Penseroso edil Moderate . . . . . 143 


The Messiah Handel goes to Dublin Is received with great enthusiasm 
Returns to London Samson The hostility continues Semele 
Dettingen 1e Deum Joseph Belshazzar Hercules Lord Middle- 
sex's opposition company Handel is bankrupt again He continues 
the struggle Judas Maccabceus Handel's music is used against him ___ 
Joshua Solomon Susanna Fire Music Handel is made a \ 
governor of the Foundling Hospital Theodora . . 154 


Handel gives an organ to the Foundling Hospital Jephtha, his last work 
He becomes blind Triumph of Time and Truth He continues to 
perform in public His death His funeral His will His support 
of the Foundling Hospital Portraits ..... 169 


Performances of Handel's music after his death His character Anecdotes 


The operas . ... . 





\y The Oratorios Handel's use of the works of other composers The Serenatas, 
Concertos Obsolete instruments Organs with pedals Chamber 
music Handel accused of noise The origin of " additional accom- 
paniments" . . .... an 


J The influence of Handel on English composers . . 233 





List of Illustrations 

GRAVURE) ..... Frontispiece 


FEAST" ..... 

MASK ..... 



To face 6 




. To face 183 





Chapter I 

The condition of music and musicians at the end of ^e seventeenth 
century-Handel's ancestry-His birth and chudhood-Visrts 
Weissenfels-Becomes a pupil of Zachau-Visits Berlm-Becomes 
organist of a church in his native town. 

IN the year 1685, which saw the birth of Bach and 
Handel, the art of music was in a flourishing condition 
in Italy, and the influence of Italian music Condition 
and Italian singers had spread over the O f Mus i c at 
whole of Europe. Instrumental music pure ^ Ume Q j 
and simple was in its infancy: while opera jfandeVs 
and church music reigned supreme. Voices Birth 

were cultivated to a high point of perfection, 
and many musicians were singers as well as composers. 

In France, Lulli (1633-1687), had introduced "accom- 
panied recitative," and had made other improvements, 
paying special attention to correct declamation, and settling 
the form of the overture. 

Italian music had reached Germany, and was much 
cultivated at the various Courts; but native German 
cantors were also busy, founding the school of church 
and organ music which culminated in John Sebastian 

Bach. , . , 

The " Singspiel," a theatrical representation, m whicl 
spoken dialogue was interspersed with songs, had been 
much cultivated, especially at Hamburg, where, however, 


it was soon to give way before German opera under 
Keiser. 1 

In England, though music was still suffering from the 
effects of Puritanism, a great composer had arisen in 
p j, Henry Purcell, 1658-1695, one of a family 

, of native musicians. Purcell confessedly 
influenced .. , , L . .^ . r ^, 

IT. 7- "endeavoured a just imitation of the most 

%, . famed Italian Masters." He was prolific in 

Music f. 

every department of music then known, 

and established a form of English opera, which was 
used for a century and a half. Italian opera had not 
reached England when he died. Except Purcell, no 
English composers of this time can be said to have 
established a European reputation. Their compositions 
are mostly only adapted for performance in English 
cathedrals, and the tendency to import foreign musicians 
for all other than church music was becoming apparent. 

Singers were beginning to be of supreme importance. 
j * * Both opera and church music were under their 
mpor ance j n g uence> The d ram atic element in the former 
was subservient to the necessity for providing 
proper opportunities of display for the prima donna, 
seconda donna, primo uomo, secondo uomo, etc., each of 
whom must have his or her allotted arias, whether in 
opera or oratorio. Much of the music was written for 
artificial sopranos, some of whom became famous in 
departments other than music; thus Farinelli, a male 
soprano of noble birth, after making a reputation on most 
of the stages of Europe, became the chief political adviser 
of the King of Spain. 

Church music was represented in both the Roman and 
1 The Singspiel is still cultivated in Germany. 

Condition of Music 

Lutheran Churches by the Mass, the Oratorio, the Church 
Cantata, the Motet ; Passion music performed ^ on ^ nental 
during Lent was a feature of the Lutheran Church 

Church, and was often called oratorio : * and Music 

the Chorale, a form peculiar to this church, 
was very widely cultivated. 

In the early days of opera and oratorio, counterpoint 
had been to a certain extent in abeyance, having given 
way to the newly discovered charms of harmony ; but in 
the latter decades of the seventeenth century the best 
composers had reverted to the use of counterpoint, in 
combination with the two modern scales, and the wider 
harmonic horizon which had thus been opened up. The 
old modes had almost disappeared, though they continued 
for some time to come to influence composers, especially 
those who wrote for the church. 

Much instrumental music was composed, but it had 
not the important position that it afterwards attained in 
the quartet and symphony. The high school j ns f rumen . 
of violin solo playing was being founded tal Music 
by Corelli (1653-1713), Tartini, Vivaldi, 
Geminiani and others; and the famous Italian school 
of violin makers had culminated in Stradivarius (1650- 
1737). Organ music was being developed in Germany by 
Pachelbel, Buxtehude and many others, among whom 
the various members of the Bach family were prominent. 
The orchestra was gradually being improved, as an 

1 Carissimi's oratorio, " Jeptha," followed the plan of the Passion 
music : a " Historicus" narrates the events in recitative, while the 
various persons and the chorus enter at appropriate places. The 
work is in Latin, and the only instrument used to accompany is the 


accompaniment to the voices in drama and church music ; 
and it was also used for dance music, the dances being 
composed in " Suites " of pieces. Of these old dances, 
the minuet still survives as one of the movements in the 
sonata and symphony. In Italy every town had at least 
one opera house ; in Venice there were six. In Germany 
each town sustained a band of " town musicians " whose 
duties were to play the accompaniments to the church 
cantatas, and to provide whatever instrumental music was 
required for public occasions. They, like the choirs, 
were paid partly by the town and partly by the money 
collected in the streets for out-door performances. 

The position of musicians was not attractive from a 
modern point of view. Their best chance of success 

The So ial Was ' as a ru ^ e ' tO ^ ta ^ n permanent employ- 
... * ment in the establishment of royal or ducal 
Jrosition of , . i_ A*, i i j i r 

Musicians nouses > m wnlcn tne y hdcl the position of 
servants; they could not leave without per- 
mission, which was frequently refused. But music was 
just beginning to take a rank among the learned 
professions, and we meet instances about this time of 
troubles arising through musicians, unconsciously in 
many cases, resenting the inferior position to which 
custom relegated them. This feeling was, however, not 
confined to musicians : most learned men were obliged to be 
subservient to some rich patron, on whom they depended 
for their living, and for getting their works published. 
There was not as yet a public to appeal to. The arts 
and sciences were merely looked upon as amusements or 
recreations for the upper classes of society. In England 
the practice of music was looked upon as a trade. One 
Green, a blind organist of St Giles', Cripplegate, was, as 

Handel's Ancestry 

as 1724 fined $ for exercising the trade of teaching 
sic within the City of London, he not being a member 
the Company of Musicians, and his means of living 
thus ruthlessly taken from him. 

In 1609 there settled at Halle in Saxony a master 
)persmith from Breslau, name Valentine Hendel. 1 He 
ime a Burgher of the city, married the ^^ 

lughter of a coppersmith named Beichling fr H J 

' Eisleben, and was succeeded in his business ^, ., 

his two elder sons, Valentin and Christoph. 

third son, Georg, born in 1622, became a surgeon 
id barber. 2 At the age of twenty he married Anna 
Oettinger, the widow of a barber, and became thereby a 
Burgher of Halle. 3 A few years after his marriage he was 
advanced to the dignity of surgeon and valet-de-chambre 
to the Saxon and Brandenburg Courts. By this marriage 
he had three sons and three daughters. When he was 
sixty-two years old his wife died, and he married Dorothea 
^aust, daughter of the Pastor of Giebichenstein, a village 


on the Saale a short distance from Halle. The offspring of 
the second marriage consisted of two sons and two daugh- 
ters. The eldest son died at his birth, and the younger, 
bora on February 23rd, 1685, was named Georg Friedrich. 

It is interesting to notice the conditions under which 
this child, who was destined to influence the whole 
B ' th f civilised world, entered it. His father was 
^ J sixty-four years old : a very respectable trades- 
Fr^r' k man ' W ^ k ac * P usne d himself by his own 
Hand*! ener gy an d ability to the highest point in his 
profession. He was ambitious of leaving a 
good name behind him; seems not to have amassed a 
fortune, but to have lived comfortably as a citizen of Halle. 
The house in which he lived at this time was no mean one 
as can be seen by the photograph, and he had purchased a 
family vault in the churchyard for himself and his heirs. 

The mother was thirty-three years old, and we are told 
was "clear-minded, of strong piety, with a great know- 
ledge of the Bible ; deeply attached to her parents ; with 
little wish for marriage, even in the bloom of her youth ; 
a capable manager, earnest and of pleasant manners." l 
We shall see that the child inherited the qualities of both 
parents : from his father his ambition to distinguish him- 
self by making use of the enormous genius with which he 
was endowed : and from his mother that piety and filial 
devotion and charity which were characteristic of him. 

George Frederic was baptised at the Liebfrauenkirche 
at Halle on February 24th, the sponsors being the Steward 
of Langendorf, Anna Taust, an unmarried daughter of the 
Pastor, and Zacharias Kleinhempel, a barber of Halle. 

1 Funeral sermon on Dorothea Handel, quoted by Chrysander, 
vol. i., p. 7, etc. 




Music began to attract the child's attention from his 
rliest years. In the nursery his only toys were 
impets, drums, flutes, and anything that -,, rj,-ij 
Dduced musical sounds. For a time this J ' s 

tused amusement, but it soon began to be 
ious. In the opinion of old Georg Handel, music 
" an elegant art and a fine amusement ; yet, if con- 
lered as an occupation, it had little dignity as having 
>r its subject nothing better than mere pleasure and 
itertainment," l and in this he undoubtedly expressed 
ic general opinion. 

No doubt old Handel was not far wrong in thus con- 
imning music from the point of view of a man living in 
small German town, and knowing nothing of the great 
le of the art. At that time the town musicians were 
ten of a low class, who subsisted largely by " piping 
fore the doors" of the inhabitants. Organists and 
mtors were, with few exceptions, poorly paid, and there- 
>re thought little of, for the efforts of the Bach family to 
raise the position of their art would scarcely have had 
effect as yet in a town so far from Thuringia as Halle. 
German opera was not yet invented : and in Italian opera, 
old Handel would only see the fashionable amusements 
of the wealthy, carried out by foreign hirelings. The 
father, wishing to raise his son in the social scale, did all 

in his power to quench this terrible trait in ,- /r 

? , Efforts to 

his character. Since music was taught in * , 

the grammar schools, the boy was not allowed su PP re f s 
to attend them : he was prevented going to 
any place where music was performed : all 
instruments were banished from the house, and the boy 
1 Main waring, " Memoirs of Handel," 1760. 


was forbidden ever to touch them, or to enter any house 
where "such kind of furniture" was in use. The case 
appeared so desperate that some suggested cutting off his 
fingers. 1 

But, though prevented from learning instruments, the 
boy was bound at any rate to hear music. Chorales were 
played every evening on the tower of the Liebfrauen 
Church ; the chorale and cantata would be heard by him 
when attending divine worship ; and the father could not 
stop the music which at Halle, as in every other German 
town, was weekly performed in the streets by the choirs 
-, and town musicians. 2 The street music of 

9/ t M ' tnose ^ avs was n t *ke blatant noise pro- 
duced by the mechanical organs of the present 
time ; it was more or less artistically performed by persons 
regularly employed by the Church or town. Hence the 
boy could not entirely be deprived of the satisfaction of 
the strongest desire of his nature. Moreover he had 
from childhood a naturally obstinate character ; and, just 
as in after-life he surmounted obstacles which would have 
crushed most men, so in early childhood the opposition 
he encountered seems to have had the effect of making 
him more determined than ever. A story is usually 

1 Mainwaring. 

2 This custom is still preserved in small towns in Thuringia. The 
writer in 1899 heard good performances of some part-songs of 
Mendelssohn and others by the choirs at Arnstadt and Ohrdruff. 
Burney, in his " State of Music in Germany, etc.," p. 73, mentions the 
singing of young students in three or four parts in the streets of 
Frankfort ; and after dinner he heard several symphonies reasonably 
well played by a street band. Military music was, and is still, 
regularly performed in German towns. 


Visit to Weissenfels 

accepted as true, that by some means he managed to 
convey to a garret a small clavichord before rf d I 
he was seven years of age, and there he . an * 

taught himself to play while the household -,, 

, Clavichord 

was asleep, or too occupied to notice what 7 7jr 

ui by stealth 
he was doing. The story is not impossible. 

The clavichord was of various sizes, and the smaller 
kinds were extremely portable. Pretorius gives a picture 
of an " octave clavichord " which must have been very 
small indeed, and Mersennus speaks of one two and a 
half feet in length by only one-third of a foot in breadth. 
These small instruments were used by nuns when practis- 
ing in their cells, their very weak tone not penetrating the 
walls ; and it does not seem impossible that a determined 
boy of six years old should be able to smuggle such a 
clavichord into the house, and to use it without being 
found out. Schcelcher suggests that his mother or nurse 
may possibly have helped him, and Chrysander suggests 
his Aunt Anna. But whether the story is true or not, 
there is no doubt that by the age of seven Handel was 
able to astonish men by his extraordinary musical powers. 
A half-brother of George Frederic 1 was at this time 
valet de chambre to the Duke of Saxe- Weissenfels, whose 
court was known for its good music, and old Georg 
proposed to go and visit him. The child v . . 
begged hard to be taken, but was refused -^ . ,. , 
permission. The journey of some forty * 

English miles from Halle was made by post-chaise, 
and young Handel, determined to go, ran after the 
carriage till it was well away from Halle. His father 
discovered him, and severely scolded him. The boy 
1 Chrysander says a cousin, Georg Christian. 


answered with tears and passionate entreaty to be taken 
into the chaise ; and, as it was too far to send him back 
alone, he was taken in, while his father found some means 
of informing the mother of the escapade, in order to relieve 
her anxiety. Arrived at Weissenfels, the boy managed to 
get into the chapel, and was allowed to play the voluntary 
at the conclusion of the service. The Duke heard him, 
made enquiries who he was, and had the boy and his 
father brought before him. Then he turned to the old 
surgeon, talked seriously to him about the importance of 
the art of music : then went on to say that though every 
parent had naturally a right to choose the profession he 
thought his son would do well in, yet in his opinion it 
would be no less than a sin against the commonweal to 
deprive the world of so much genius, by preventing the 
boy from following a profession for which nature had so 
evidently marked him out. 

He was far from urging that the musical studies of any- 
one should be followed to the detriment of other things, 
but that it was possible to combine them with other 
studies ; his wish was only that, in the choice of a profession, 
no violence should be done to the natural bent of the 
character. He then filled the boy's pocket with money, 
and promised him a reward if he minded his studies. 
The Duke urged that music should at least be tolerated, 
and that the boy should be given a competent teacher. 

The poor father did not know what to answer : he said 
nothing for and nothing against the proposal. He half 
desired that nature should follow her course; but his 
chief wish always lay in the direction of the law. It is not 
without interest that at this very time a lively discussion 
was going on at Hanover as to the proper position of 



music among the arts and sciences. It was asserted that 
it could not rank among them at all. Steffani published 
several pamphlets in which he boldly contended that not 
only was it both an art and a science, but that it had its 
foundations deep down in human nature, and as such 
must rank equally with all other human learning. How 
strangely behindhand must we English appear to in- 
tellectual foreigners when we confine the word " art " to 
painting alone, and speak of " art and music " as separate 
things ! There are educated Englishmen even yet, who 
look upon music as merely a polite accomplishment, not 
to be taken seriously. 

On his return to Halle, Georg placed his TT j j 
son under the charge of Zachau, organist of 

the Liebfrauenkirche. Zachau was a learned , . 

. j . . . . j i regular in- 

and very industrious musician, and his new , ,. 

i i j !- i_ ^.i_ A. i_ struction in 

pupil "pleased him so much that he never ,, . 

thought he could do enough for him." He 
taught him the organ, counterpoint and composition. 
The master and pupil analysed together a very large 
collection of every kind of music of the best German 
and Italian composers, which Zachau possessed. Zachau 
explained the differences of style, the excellencies and 
defects of the various masters, and made his pupil copy 
many scores that he might more thoroughly assimilate 
the various methods of composition. He became to 
Handel an oracle, and the feeling of love and respect 
for him never ceased throughout Handel's life. The 
instruction lasted three years, and, as soon as the pupil 
was sufficiently advanced, he was made to compose a 
motet or cantata every week, 1 besides fugues on given 
1 None of these early vocal works are known to be in existence. 


subjects. In the Buckingham Palace collection there are 
six sonatas for two oboes and a bassoon, composed at the 
age of eleven. The style is very similar to that of Bach's 
organ trios, the two oboes being usually in free imitation, 
while the bassoon or cembalo perform an independent bass. 

Composition came very rapidly to him, and Chrysander 
considers that he developed in this direction earlier than 
J. S. Bach. In after years these trios, which had been 
discovered in Germany by Lord Polwarth, were shown 
by Weidemann, a flute-player, and member of the 
orchestra in London, to the composer, who laughed and 
said, "I used to compose like the devil in those days, 
chiefly for the oboe, which was my favourite instrument." 

But these studies did not occupy the whole of his time. 
From early youth Handel was, like his great contemporary 
Sebastian Bach, an indefatigable worker, and he learned 
the harpsichord, violin and oboe in addition to his work 
with Zachau, while he also deputised for his master at the 
organ. Moreover, his poor old father, still secretly hoping 
to wean him from his dreadful predilection for music, made 
him go through the regular course in the Latin classes. 

Zachau, who had a considerable reputation as a teacher, 
acknowledged in 1696 that he could teach him no more, 
and recommended that he should be sent to Berlin, where 
the Elector of Brandenburg had established a good opera- 
house, in which all the best Italian singers performed. 1 

1 Music was very much cultivated here by the Electress Sophia 
Charlotte, Princess of Hanover. A pupil of Steffani, she was a first- 
rate musician, and studied Philosophy under Leibnitz. She was in 
the habit of personally directing operas at the harpsichord ; the singers 
and dancers were princes and princesses, while the orchestra consisted 
of the best artists from all countries, who were received with open 
arms at the court. 



Visit to Berlin 

He was accordingly taken there by a friend of his father's, 
and soon astonished all who heard him. He . . 

met here Attilio Ariosti, who "would take 
him upon his knee, and make him play on 
his harpsichord for an hour together," and treated him 
with every consideration. Bononcini, who was also in 
Berlin, was of a sour disposition, and treated him with 
scorn. He composed a chromatic cantata, with a ground 
bass for the harpsichord full of difficulties, and requested 
Handel to play it at sight, hoping thereby to damage his 
growing reputation. Handel played it perfectly easily, 
and Bononcini henceforward treated him as a rival. 

Handel does not seem to have had regular instruction 
in Berlin, but to have picked up all the knowledge he 
could from hearing music, and mixing with musicians. 
After a little while his father became alarmed by a pro- 
posal on the part of the Elector to send him to Italy to com- 
plete his musical education, and afterwards to attach him 
to his court. This was no uncommon proceeding in those 
days : a clever child would be educated at the expense of 
some great man, and would afterwards be, though nomin- 
ally free, attached to the court, without much chance of 
leaving it for the rest of his life. A case of this kind 
occurred later with respect to J. S. Bach's son Emmanuel, 
who had the greatest difficulty in escaping the " species 
of slavery " l in which he was involved as Cembalist to 
Frederick the Great at Berlin. Whenever he demanded 
his release, his pay was simply augmented under pretence 
of additional work ; his wife and her children, being 
Prussian by birth, could not legally leave Prussian territory 
without permission, which was withheld. Having once 
1 F&is. 



escaped to Hamburg, no inducements would persuade him 
ever to take employment under a German prince again. 
Another case in point was that of Dr Pepusch, who 
escaped to England as a country where liberty was more 
understood than in Germany. 

Handel's father therefore had good grounds for the dread 
of his son becoming involved with the court of Berlin ; and 
Handel himself had an independence of character which in 
later years cost him his health, his fortune, and nearly his 
life. He would never be dependent on a wealthy patron, as 
most artists and men of letters were in those days. Chrys- 
ander also points out another motive for declining the offer. 
The father still hoped his son might become a lawyer. 
He was hastily brought back to Halle, and resumed his 
n . studies under Zachau, analysing, copying and 

TT 77 composing large quantities of music, and 

working hard in every way that could tend 
towards acquiring skill and knowledge. In a part or 
Thuringia not so very remote from Halle there was at 
this time another boy, who was ruining his sight by copy- 
ing forbidden music by moonlight, and was eking out a 
scanty living by singing at weddings, funerals and in the 
street, while working hard to perfect himself as a composer 
and performer. 

While Handel was thus occupied, his father died 
D th f (February n, 1697); and it would soon be- 
, J come necessary for him to work for his living ; 
f 2T k ut ne continued his studies, going through 

the complete course of Latin, and not leav- 
ing school till he was seventeen. 

In order to carry out his father's wishes, if it were 
possible, he in 1702 entered the University of Halle as a 

First Appointment 

law student. From the year 1697 he had been deputis- 
ing for Joh. Christoph Leporin, organist of 
the Castle and the Cathedral; and when 
Leporin was dismissed for neglect of duty 
and general bad conduct, Handel succeeded 
him in March 1702 as organist. Nature ** rr // 
now conquered; the law was given up for 
ever, and music was to be henceforth the work of his life. 

On his accepting the post, the usual exhortations and 
admonitions were administered : he was to fulfil the duties 
entrusted to him in a way becoming a competent organist, 
with faithful and diligent care ; to be present on Sundays 
and Festivals, and on any extra occasions required; to 
play the organ properly, to play over the psalm or hymn 
tune with fine harmony; to come in good time to the 
church ; to look after the organ ; to give advice as to any 
necessary repairs ; to give due respect to priests and elders 
of the church ; to be obedient to them, and to live peace- 
ably with the church attendants ; and to lead a Christian 
and exemplary life. 

For all this he was to receive free lodging and a salary 
of T> Ios - a year. Before Leporin's time the salary had 
been ^3, and the holder of the post died "probably 
from hunger," says Chrysander. 

The organ was a good one, well-decorated, with 
twenty-eight sounding stops and two keyboards, built in 
1667. It had a remarkable set of bellows, three in 
number, which contained so much wind that one depres- 
sion of the three levers 1 was sufficient for 180 bars of 
music, or the whole of the Creed. 

1 The bellows were of course worked by the feet, as in all German 
organs. The blower is called " Balgentreter," i.e. " Bellows-treader. " 



In this, his first appointment, Handel found much to 
occupy and interest him. It was the rule in Halle, as in 
all other German towns of any pretensions, for a cantata 
to be performed by the choir and town musicians every 
Sunday. At Leipsic the cantata was performed on alter- 
nate Sundays at the Thomas and Nicolai Churches ; but 
at Halle the choir and orchestra served no less than seven 
different churches in turn. 

The cantata takes much the same place in the Lutheran 
Church as the anthem in the English cathedral service ; 
and Handel had now ample opportunity of acquiring 
skill in composition in a very practical manner. 

But he did more than this ; he caused his former 
school-fellows to meet together for music on half- 
holidays at his mother's house, and his fame soon 
began to spread beyond his native town. 

At this time there was in Magdeburg another youth, 
four years Handel's senior, who was giving his relations 
much concern by his musical tendencies. 


This was George Philip Teleman, who, like 

j Handel, had been destined for the law, but 

who became so famous in his own time that 
Hawkins describes him as "the greatest Church musician 
of Germany." Later on he was chosen to succeed 
Kuhnau at the Thomas Church at Leipsic, but for some 
reason declined the post, which was then given to John 
Sebastian Bach. In 1701 he passed through Halle on 
his way to Leipsic to study law, and there meeting the 
" already important " G. F. Handel, he was almost per- 
suaded to give up law for music. He struggled on, how- 
ever, heard lectures, and worked hard at law, until his 
musical abilities were discovered by the Leipsic authorities, 


Probation Year 

who engaged him to compose cantatas for the Thomas- 
kirche, and made him organist of the new church. Law 
was given up : he studied music, and was in constant inter- 
course with Handel, and the two young enthusiasts, whose 
early experiences had so much in common, mutually en- 
couraged one another. 1 

Handel served his " Probation Year," composed several 
hundred cantatas, which he did not think worth keeping, 
and then finding that he could learn no more rr / 

at Halle, left for Hamburg in January 1703. / eaves jf a fa 
How he made the journey we are not told, 
but it was not probably done on foot, for he seems always 
to have been better off than J. S. Bach. 

1 Halle is only twenty-one miles from Leipsic. 

Chapter II 

The Singspiel and Opera at Hamburg Keiser Handel joins the Opera 
at Hamburg Journey to Liibeck Matheson Handel fights a duel 
His first Opera Description oiAImira His second Opera, Nero 
Keiser endeavours to rival Handel Florindo Handel goes to Italy 
Florence, Rome, Venice Rodrigo A $rippina Enthusiasm of the 

THE Singspiel had been attempted, but without success, 
by Heinrich Schiitz in 1628. It gave way before the 
j^- Italian operas of the wealthy. Fifty years 
Hamburg afterwards > in 1678, a regular theatre was 
established at Hamburg by some private 
persons, in spite of great difficulties. Preachers 
stormed at it from the pulpit, and scattered pamphlets 
through the city; religious and civil feuds divided the 
town into parties, too occupied to go to the theatre; 
yet the Singspiel gradually won its way. It must be 
observed that Hamburg, being a free town, was a paradise 
for artists, who here had to do with the public, and the 
public only; they themselves were free, and not under 
the will of a royal or ducal employer, as in a Residenz- 
stadt or Court. Moreover, the theatre itself was not 
dominated by Italian singers as were the court theatres. 
None but Germans composed for it, or performed at it, 
and what they produced was for the benefit of burghers 
like themselves. The first Singspiele were exclusively 


Music at Hamburg 

occupied with scriptural events, and seem to have been 
the successors of the old miracle plays. Religious 
subjects were given up for ever in 1692, their place 
being taken by secular subjects, which were considered 
far more suitable for the stage than the former; 
and scriptural subjects were now confined to the 
Oratorio and the Church Cantatas. 

At the time of Handel's visit, Hamburg was at the 
zenith of its musical fame, and both musicians and poets of 
the first rank were working there. Among these were Postel 
and Menantes, who wrote the dramas which Keiser set to 
music. Keiser directed the theatre for forty years, and raised 
it to a degree of excellence surpassing that of the famous 
Berlin theatre. He composed no less than one hundred and 
twenty Operas and Singspiele, which became known and 
popular throughout Northern Germany, and even reached 
Paris. The subjects of the operas, like those of Handel, 
in England, in later years, were all taken from classical 
mythology and history, and were treated as mere plots on 
which to put together eighteenth-century ideas of love 
stories. The performers were students, apprentices, and 
flower-girls, who happened to have good voices; chief 
among them being Conradi, the daughter of a Dresden 
barber, whose musical education was so poor that she 
had to be taught everything by ear. 

Among Handel's first Hamburg acquaintances was 
Matheson, who introduced him to others, Matheson 
and obtained for him access to the various 
organs and concerts. He also introduced him to John 
Wick, the English ambassador, in whose family music 
was assiduously cultivated ; and here he obtained pupils 
and engagements. 



Matheson tells us that Handel played a ripieno second 
IT j j violin in the opera-house orchestra, and pre- 
'oins Ike tended > for a J oke > that he did not know 
^ a **L t k w to count five; but on one occasion 

the harpsichordist (who was at that time 
also the conductor) being absent, and Handel taking 
his place, he proved himself to be a great master. 
Handel seemed fond of a joke, though he laughed 
little. Matheson speaks of several things that oc- 
curred to himself and Handel, which seemed to have 
caused them amusement, but of which the context is 

On August i yth, 1703, Handel and Matheson jour- 
neyed by post, in company with a pigeon-fancier, to 
. . Liibeck, 40 miles to the north-east of Ham- 

Ltibeck burg ' Here Dietrich Buxt ehude, then ad- 

vanced in years, was organist of the Marien- 
kirche, and was seeking a successor, who was bound to 
marry the daughter of the retiring organist as a condition of 
holding the post. 1 Matheson, who had been invited to 
become a candidate, says : " I took Handel with me ; we 
played on all the organs and clavicymbals there, and finally 
agreed that he should only play on the organ, and I only 
on the clavicymbal. We listened with much attention to 
good artists in the Marienkirche. But, as a matrimonial 
alliance was proposed in the business, for which neither 
of us had the slightest inclination, we departed, after 
receiving many tokens of esteem, and having had much 

1 It was not uncommon in those days that an organist, cantor, or 
clergyman should be obliged to marry the daughter or widow of his 
predecessor. Chrysander, p. 86. 



enjoyment." 1 Handel was not a brilliant violin player, 
but his skill on the organ was by this time very great. 

" He was greater on the organ than Kuhnau " ,, J7 

,, . Matheson 1 s 

says Matheson, " especially in extempore ~ . . . 

fugues and counterpoints ; but he knew little 
of melody till he came to the Hamburg opera. ... In 
the last century scarcely anyone thought of melody, but 
everything was influenced by harmony only. He had, 
most of the time, free board at my father's table, and in 
return he showed me several contrapuntal effects, while I 
did him no small services in the dramatic style ; and we 
helped one another." Matheson also tells us that he 
composed at that time "very long, long arias, and 
endless cantatas, which, though they had a full har- 
mony, had not proper taste or skill in treatment; but 
in course of time they became much more polished, 
through the School of Opera, with which Handel was 

Matheson, who was four years Handel's senior, was at 
this time tutor to the son of the English envoy. He soon 
afterwards became secretary of the English Legation at 
Hamburg, and married the daughter of an English 
clergyman. He had a most remarkable career. At 
nine years old he played the organ in several churches, 
sang songs of his own composition, playing the accom- 
paniment on the harp, learned the double-bass, violin, 
flute, and oboe. A little later he began the study of the 
law, learned the English, Italian and French languages, 

1 The proffered bride was twelve years older than Matheson. A 
bridegroom for her, and organist for the church, were found in the 
person of one Schieferdecker. 



thorough-bass, counterpoint, fugue and singing. At the age 
of fifteen he was singing the chief soprano parts in the opera 
at Kiel ; at the age of eighteen he produced an opera of 
his own at Hamburg, and became attached to that theatre 
as one of the principal tenor singers, which post he held 
in addition to his connection with the British Embassy. 
He wrote many operas and masses, twenty-eight oratorios, 
many sonatas, and other music. But he is chiefly known 
by his literary work on every conceivable subject con- 
nected with music, such as the works of Aristoxenus, 
Bacon, thorough-bass, biography, science, criticism, 
acoustics, etc. His ambition was to publish a work 
for every year that he lived, and he accomplished more 
than this, for when he died at the age of eighty-three 
he had published eighty-eight books. In addition to his 
extraordinary musical erudition and capacity, he was an 
accomplished fencer and dancer and courtier. Such was 
the man with whom Handel was now on the most 
intimate terms. 

On December 5, 1704, Matheson's opera, Cleopatra, 
was performed. Matheson was in the habit of conduct- 

A D I * n ^ at t ^ ie h ar P s i cnor d when he was not sing- 
ing the part of Antonius, and returning to the 
harpsichord after the death of this character, which took 
place about half an hour before the end. But on this occa- 
sion Handel refused to leave the instrument, and a quarrel 
ensued. Matheson gave Handel a box on the ear as they 
left the theatre, and they fought with swords in the market- 
place before a crowd of people. Fortunately Matheson's 
sword broke upon a large metal button on Handel's coat, 
and no great harm was done. Through the mediation of a 
councillor and a director of the theatre, they became better 


First Opera 

friends than before. Handel dined with Matheson on 
December 30, and they went together to the H d I 
rehearsal of Handel's first opera, Almira, an * S 

Queen of Castile, a singspiel performed in the 
large theatre of Hamburg. The text of this 


opera was written by Feustking, a theological student, from 
an Italian original. 

The original MS. is lost, and the existing copy in the 
Royal Library at Berlin is incomplete. The characters 
are three sopranos, two basses and three tenors, with chorus 
of Castilian grandees, courtiers and guards. The first act 
opens with a scene in the amphitheatre of Valladolid, in 
which Almira is about to be crowned by Consalvo, Prince 
of Segovia, to whom is allotted a bass part. Trumpeters 
and drummers are arranged on balconies on each side of 
the stage. Consalvo addresses the Queen in German 
recitative followed by an aria 
" Almire 


Und fuhre 
Begliicket den Scepter, grossmiithig die Krohn." 1 

1 Chrysander tells us that Feustking's words for Matheson's 
Cleopatra were so improper that several pages of his libretto had to 
be suppressed. Feustking thereupon attacked Hunold Menantes, 
who was the author of Nebuchadnezzar. Menantes replied by 
parodying the above rhymes in Almira, as follows : 
" Mein Kathgen 
Im Stadgen 
Hats Ladgen 

Geofnet, beglucket, grossmUthig im Schrank." 
(" My Kittie has opened a little shop in the town, and is fortunate 
and generous in business.") This hit Feustking hard, for un- 



(May Almire reign, and bear the sceptre with happiness, 
and the crown with magnanimity.) The crowning takes 
place, and the chorus sing eleven bars in Italian, " Viva, 
viva Almira." 

Then follows a chaconne, to which the court dances, 
and then a saraband, afterwards used in Rinaldo for the 
well-known song, " Lascia ch'io pianga." x Almira, in a 
German recitative, appoints Osman (tenor), son of Con- 
salvo, her field-marshal, and Fernando her secretary. The 
latter sings his thanks to the Queen in German recitative, 
followed by an Italian aria. A letter is brought to Almira 
from her father ; Consalvo urges her to read it in a presto 
aria, " Leset, ihr funkelnden Augen mit Fleiss." Almira, in 
a German recitative and Italian aria, confesses her love for 
Fernando. This aria is in the well-known Da Capo form. 

We are now introduced to a Royal Garden, in which 
Edilia, a princess, sings of her love for Osman, accom- 
panied (during part of the time) by two solo violins, 
two flutes, and a bass. Osman appears, refuses Edilia's 
proffered love, whereupon Edilia invokes thunderbolts and 
other disagreeable things on his head in Italian, while he 
answers in German. The jealousy of Almira now intro- 
duces complications. She disturbs Fernando in the act 

known to Menantes, he had a mistress called Catherine. The matter 
was taken up by others ; hundreds of pamphlets appeared in course 
of time ; Feustking was accused of atheism, and the burghers being 
in a state of ferment over certain ecclesiastical matters, the affair 
eventually led to disturbances which had to be put down by military 
forces in 1708. One of the pamphlets written by Feustking is inter- 
esting as containing the first printed reference to Handel, in which he 
speaks of the " excellent music of Herrn Hendel." 
1 It was also used in the oratorio, // trionfo del tempo, 



of carving " Ich liebe di(ch) " on a tree, and takes for 
granted that the words should read " Ich lieb " Edi(lia). 
A fine aria in E minor follows, " Geloso tormento mi va 
rodendo il cor." (" The torment of jealousy gnaws at my 
heart") The scene now discloses a ball room in the 
palace, with a band of oboes in the gallery. Edilia 
chooses Fernando for her partner ; Osman becomes jealous, 
Edilia tries to revenge herself through Osman's jealousy. 
A suite of dances now follows, in which all the performers 
take part. The Queen discovers Fernando dancing with 
Edilia ; a quarrel ensues, the Queen sings "Ingrato, 
spietato " (the music of which is unfortunately lost) and 
the first act ends. 

The second act begins in the Queen's audience chamber, 
to which Raymondo (bass), king of the Moors, is brought 
in; all the other characters stand round the throne. 
Some bye-play in Italian and German fills the first three 
scenes. In scene 4 Fernando is discovered writing a 
letter in his room, and orders his servant Tabarco to 
keep the door shut. Someone outside knocks, and 
Tabarco sings a kind of patter song 


t/ ^ 

Hab-biate pa - zi - en - za. 

accompanied by violas and basses only. 

Osman (the knocker) is eventually admitted, and asks 
Fernando to assist him in making love to Almira. Almira, 
however, is expected by Fernando, so Osman, in a Ger- 
man aria accompanied by two flutes, viola di braccio solo 
and bass, hides himself, and sings " Sprich vor mir ein 



susses Wort ; rede, flehe," etc. : " Speak for me a kindly 
word ; urge and pray her," etc. Almira arrives ; becomes 
again jealous on seeing the letter written by Fernando, 
which is intended for her, but which she takes for granted 
is intended for Edilia. More misunderstandings take place, 
in Italian and German, which are finally settled before the 
end of the act. 

In scene 7 Osman is still hiding. Consalvo now 
appears, and with considerable diplomacy offers his son 
Osman to Almira in a German aria. Osman now comes 
out of hiding, and renounces Almira in favour of Edilia. 

Scene 8 takes place in another part of the Court. 
Raymondo now makes love to Almira, who answers in a very 
beautiful accompanied recitative, " Ich kann nicht mehr 
verschweigen," " I can no more keep silence," followed by 
an aria, " Movei passi a le ruine." Almira, seeing Osman 
coming, hides. Osman challenges Fernando: Almira 
snatches Osman's sword away. Fernando laughs at 
Osman to the accompaniment of two oboes and bassoon. 

More quarrels take place. Fernando, supposed to be 
a foundling, is discovered to be a prince ; a comic scene 
takes place, in which Tabarco gets hold of a mail-bag 
and reads all the love-letters in it, making sarcastic 
remarks thereon. 

Act III. opens with one of the favourite devices of 
those days, in which the actors, becoming the audience, 
have a play acted before them. Such a scene is here 
enacted in honour of Raymondo, king of the Moors. 

Fernando, dressed as Europa, enters on a chariot, pre- 
ceded by a band of oboes, followed by a crowd of 
Europeans who dance. Osman, representing a Moor, 
is brought in under a splendid baldachino, carried by 


Finale of Almira 

twelve Moors, preceded by a band of trumpets, and 
followed by African people, who dance a rigaudon. 
Consalvo follows as Asia, surrounded by lions, preceded 
by a band of cymbals, drums and fifes, and followed 
by Asiatics, who dance the saraband, which had pre- 
viously been heard in the first act (Lascia ch'io pianga). 

Tabarco represents Foolishness, with harlequins and 
charlatans, while his band consists of a hurdy-gurdy and 
bagpipe. He sings, with two oboes as accompaniment 
(in German) : " Come and celebrate my fame ; for the 
greater part of earth is subject to my sway." The 
charlatans then dance a gigue. 

More quarrelling, daggers are drawn, and Fernando 
finds himself in prison through the duplicity of Consalvo, 
who tries to get Almira to sentence him to death, and 
nearly succeeds. Tabarco brings a pretended death- 
warrant to Fernando, in prison, but is followed by Almira, 
who, overhearing him sing of her and not Edilia, releases 
him. General understanding all round now takes place 
a short chorus occurs, of which the music is lost, and 
the opera concludes with the usual trio, in which all the 
principal voices take part. 

We have given a fairly full account of Handel's first 
opera, as it shows the kind of material with which he had 
to work. If we eliminate the short choruses, and imagine 
the language to be Italian throughout, we have the pattern 
on which all the later operas were composed : i.e. a suc- 
cession of recitatives and arias connected together by a 
slight and very obvious plot. Handel made the most of 
his opportunities, and many of the arias even in this early 
work are exceedingly fine. That he was not insensible 
to the orchestral possibilities is shown by the use of the 



two oboes and a bassoon in the mocking song, and the 
veiled sound of the violas in the song " Have patience." 

This opera, produced on January 8th, 1705, had so 
great a success that it was performed without 
intermission until February 25th, when Han- 
del's second opera, The, Success of Love through 
Blood and Murder, or Nero, represented as a singspiel, 
was performed with great applause. Matheson took the 
chief role in both these operas. 

From the account of Almira given above we see that 
it was put on the stage with all the magnificence available 
at that time, and in all Handel's later operas the same 
luxury of scenery and action is found. He never did 
things by halves. He supplied the finest music and 
required the finest singers, orchestra, and stage effects 

The words of Nero were by Feustking, and, out of 
three hundred Hamburg opera texts read by Chrysander, he 
finds " none in which stupidity reaches a higher degree." 
Handel sighed, and said, " How can a musician make 
fine music when he has no good words ; there is no 
soul in the poetry, and it is painful to have to set such 
stuff to music." 1 

The score of Nero is lost, but the libretto, which is 
extant, contains seventy-five airs in German. It was only 
performed three times, the theatre being closed after its 
third representation. Handel, who had for some time 
T-f / given up playing the second violin, now 

,? occupied himself with teaching and occa- 

ur ^ sionally playing the harpsichord at the theatre. 
He lived a quiet life, worked hard, and refusing all 

1 Chrysander, vol. i. p. 127. 


temptations to indulge in pleasure, saved his money, and 
began those economical habits, which lasted through his life, 
and by which he was able in after years to do so much 
for charitable objects. He was now independent of his 
mother's help. By teaching all day he not only supported 
himself, but was able to return the money she sent him, 
and to add something of his own to it. 1 

Keiser's envy was excited by Handel's success. He is 
said to have rearranged the words of Nero, 
and produced it on 5th August 1705 under 
the title of " The Roman Embarrassment, or 
the Noble-minded Octavia, and in 1706 he produced 
Almira under the title of His Serene Highness the Secre- 
tary, or Almira, Queen of Castilia. Both of these operas 
were openly directed against Handel, who, however, had 
already withdrawn from the theatre. Keiser's composi- 
tions were distinguished for justness and depth of ex- 
pression and originality of form. His harmonies were 
strong and penetrating. Like Sebastian Bach he had an 
instinct for instrumentation, and never was tied by 
conventional customs. Handel was much influenced by 
him, and never denied the obligations he was under to his 
genius. 2 In 1707 Keiserand his colleague Driisicke were 
forced to give up the management of the theatre, owing to 
the debts they had contracted, and were sue- . , 

ceeded by Saurbrey, who persuaded Handel ~ ' r 
to compose an opera, Florindo and Daphne, 17 *? * 
(text by Hinsch, a poet not much better than 
Feustking), which was performed in January and February 

1 It is not known how much Handel was able to charge for lessons. 
Matheson received from 3 to 6 thaler (9 to 18 shillings) a month for 
his pupils. 2 F&is. 

2 9 


1708. It was however divided into two portions on 
account of its length. Its score is lost. Handel was in 
Italy at the time of its performance. 

Handel's compositions at Hamburg were not confined to 
- opera. A " Passion " by him was performed 

^ . during Holy Week, 1 704. The text was made 

by Postel from the nineteenth chapter of 
St John's Gospel. Matheson was at this time in Holland, 
and could not take part in it, and some years afterwards 
mentions it in condemnatory terms. Mainwaring men- 
tions two chests full of cantatas, sonatas, and other music 
as having been left at Hamburg when Handel went to 
Italy, but Matheson knew nothing of these. Perhaps 
the cantatas belonged to the Halle period. 

All the Hamburg operas were in the German language, 
with Italian arias. This mixing of languages seems to 
have been a regular custom in those days ; we shall meet 
with it again in England. Pieces other than opera were 
performed in Italian, French, High German and Low 
German. 1 The reason is not far to seek. The recitative, 
which told the story, was in the language understood by 
the audience ; while the arias were put into Italian, as a 
language more suitable for musical treatment. 

Handel had wished, even before he left Halle, to 
TT d I complete his studies in Italy. But he had 

^ n not yet the means for so long and costly a 

the i journey. An offer was made in 1705 by 

** , Prince Gaston de Medici, brother of the 

aepenaant Gnmd Duke Qf TuscanVj to take him to 

J a Florence, but his sturdy independence of 

1 The writer heard Shakespeare's " Othello" performed at Leipsic 
in a mixture of German and English in 1884. 


Journey to Italy 

character refused to allow him to go as the servant of a 
prince ; if he went, it must be as his own master. 

The Prince, with whom he was on very friendly terms, 
showed him a large collection of Italian music. Handel 
said he could see nothing in the music which answered 
the high character his highness had given it ; he thought 
it so indifferent that the singers must be angels to recom- 
mend it. On the Prince pressing him to come to a 
country of so great culture, Handel said he was at a loss 
to conceive how such great culture should be followed by 
so little fruit ! l 

He remained at Hamburg till 1706, by which time he 
had saved 200 ducats (about ^96) besides having sent 
remittances to his mother from time to time. He must 
have worked hard and lived simply to have saved so large 
a sum in three years. 

Few details are known as to the dates and other cir- 
cumstances of the Italian tour. Schcelcher rr 
thinks that Handel arrived at Florence about ^ 

the month of July 1706. Mainwaring says that /. a ^ 
he reached Florence soon after the return of 
Prince Gaston de Medici, who introduced 
him at the Court of his brother the Grand Duke of 
Tuscany; but it is not known when this was. Chrys- 
ander considers that he paid a short visit to Florence and 
then went on to Rome, and that about a dozen solo can- 
tatas were produced by him during this visit, one of which, 
called Lucretia, became very popular ; and he re-wrote the 
overture to Almira, adding some dances. 

We have definite information that he was at Rome in 
April 1707, from a psalm for five part chorus, Dixit 
1 Mainwaring, "Memoirs." 



Dominus (no) which is dated at the end " S. D. G. 
(Soli Deo Gloria) G. F. Hendel, 1707, 11 d'Aprile, 
Romae." In this Psalm he began the practice, which 
he continued to the end of his life, of dating his com- 
positions. Chrysander says that the double fugue " Tu es 
sacerdos in aeternum " is scarcely possible to perform, 
and that the part-writing in a long fugue on " Et in secula 
seculorum, amen," is restless; in fact the whole com- 
position shows that he was not yet completely master 
of the contrapuntal art. Another Psalm Nisi Dominus 
(127) which he took with him to Italy, seems to date 
from the Halle period, since it is in the form of a German 
cantata; and a third, Laudate pueri Dominum (113) sub- 
scribed "S. D. G. : G. F. H. : 1707 d., 8 July Roma," is 
a rearrangement for five voices of the same Psalm written 
in Germany for a single voice. 

Chrysander thinks that Handel returned to Florence in 
July 1707, and remained there till January 1708. 

Florence was the original home of opera, for it was here 
that the little society of savants and musicians, meeting at 
the house of Bardi (on which an inscription records the 
fact), in their endeavours to revive the ancient glories of 
the Greek drama, were led to the invention of recitative 
and the aria. 

These first opera writers, Peri, Caccini, and Galilei, 
who flourished about 1600, were now to find a worthy 
successor in the Saxon, Handel, a century after they had 
originated the form of art which had flourished so well in 
. n Italy. His first effort in Italian opera on Italian 

'Ital ^ Soil Was Roderi 8 or Rodri 8> the text of which 
was provided by a poet whose name is now lost. 

The singers were four sopranos, one alto, and one tenor. 


No Trumpeter at Florence 

The overture is in the usual form, beginning with a slow 
movement, then a fugue, but it ends with a suite of 
dances, consisting of a gigue (so exactly like Corelli's 
music that it might be mistaken for his), a saraband, a 
" matelot " or sailor's dance, a minuet, two bourrees, and 
finally a passacaille, with a brilliant violin solo in the style 
of Corelli, and very florid passages for all the violoncellos. 

Some of the music is taken from Almira, but a good 
deal altered. Like the latter, Roderigo affords plenty of 
opportunity for scenic effect, and the work abounds in 
brilliant violin and violoncello solos. 

To represent Esilena's constancy, she is made at the 
words " La mia constanza," to sustain the note E through 
five and three-quarter bars of common time to an elaborate 

In scene 4 Handel repeats the device already used in 
Almira, of accompanying a song with violins, flutes and 
viola, without any bass instrument; and in scene 5 
Roderigo is accompanied by violas and basses only. 
In scene 6 he produces a mysterious ghostly effect by 
a modulation from the key of A flat to that of C flat, 
then A flat minor, which keys were not available on the 
harpsichord, owing to the system of tuning then in use. 
The cembalist is accordingly directed to cease playing, 
and the strings alone play the accompaniment at this 

There seems to have been no trumpeter in Florence 
for in a song containing the words Gia gnda la tromba 
" Now sounds the trumpet," Handel's favourite instru- 
ment, the oboe, takes the place of the trumpet. That he 
could write for the trumpet at this time is proved by the 
score of Almira\ and he is not likely to have lost so 

c 33 


good an opportunity of using this brilliant instrument, if 
one was available. 

The work was awaited with some prejudice by the 
Italians ; he had not as yet given them any proof of his 
powers, and he himself seems to have confessed in later 
years to Mainwaring that he was not at that time fully 
master of the Italian style. But the audience received it 
exceedingly favourably, and the Grand Duke gave him 
100 sequins (about ^50) and a service of plate as a mark 
of his approval. 

The principal part in Roderigo was sung by Vittoria 
Tesi, who, according to Mainwaring, seems to have fallen 
in love with the young composer, and to have obtained 
leave of absence in order to follow him to Venice, where 
she took part in his Agrtppina.' 1 

Prince Gaston, who had met Handel at Hamburg, and 
had, as we have seen, proposed to take him to Florence 
in a dependant position, seems to have borne him no ill- 
will for his refusal of the offer, for we read that he enter- 
tained him at Florence in the capacity of a guest. From 
Florence Handel went to Venice, probably arriving there 
in January 1708. Here he met Steffani, Domenico Scar- 
, latti, Gasparini, and Lotti. He composed the 

econ ^ opera Agrtppina for the theatre of St Chry- 
///* sostom 2 in three weeks, and Mainwaring tells 

us that it was received with great favour, the 
audience shouting Viva il caro Sassone, "Long live the 
dear Saxon." The French horn, which had lately been 
invented in France, was introduced into Italy in this 

1 See Glossary, "Tesi." 

3 There were about half a dozen theatres in Venice, all of which 
were named after saints. 




opera. Mainwaring says, " It is, I believe, an undoubted 
fact that French horns were never used in Italy as an 
accompaniment to the voice until Handel introduced 
them." But no part is found for them in the score. 

A story is told that Handel being at a masked ball sat 
down at the harpsichord ; that Scarlatti, on hearing him 
play, said, " It must be the famous Saxon or the devil"; and 
being thus discovered, Handel was begged to compose an 
opera. But, as Chrysander points out, it is scarcely 
likely that Handel, who was seeking reputation and profit, 
would introduce himself in this way. His skill on the 
harpsichord caused much admiration and astonishment 
among the Italians, some of the more superstitious of 
whom attributed it to magic; and it is not impossible 
that Handel, being present at a masked ball, may have 
been asked to play without discovering himself to the 

The characters in Agrippina are eight in number: 
Agrippina, wife of Claudio, soprano ; Nero, soprano ; 
Poppcea, soprano; Claudio, the emperor, bass; Ottone, 
alto; two Freedmen, bass and alto; Juno, alto. There 
is no tenor. 

The overture made a considerable sensation from its 
fullness and dignity, the Italian overtures being of a much 
lighter character. A chorus occurs in Act II, accompanied 
by trumpets, drums, and the usual strings, and one of 
Otho's songs has a Bach-like accompaniment of flutes and 
muted violins, while the basses play pizzicato throughout. 

Two solo violoncellos are employed in the last Act, 
which ends with a set of dances. Some of the music 
was afterwards used for Jephtha^ Triumph of Time and 
Truth, and Judas Maccabeus. An aria, sung by Agrip- 



pina, afterwards used in La Rezurrezione, was accom- 
panied by violins in unison with the voice, and without 
any bass, i.e. unison throughout, became enormously 
popular, and was brought to England, introduced without 
Handel's name into the opera Pyrrhus by A. Scarlatti, 
and finally published in an English song collection to 
the words 


Close by the famous knoll 
A swain a goddess told 
An am'rous story." 

This air, which was the first piece of music by Handel 
to reach England, was attributed to Scarlatti. 

The Venetian audience was so carried away by the 
force and beauty of the music that to an onlooker they 
would have appeared to have lost their senses. At every 
pause in the music the theatre resounded with cries of 
"Viva il caro Sassone," and other extravagant expres- 
sions. The grandeur and dignity of his style entirely 
astonished them. The Prince of Hanover, Ernest 
Augustus, together with a number of important Hanover- 
ian and English personages, happened to be in Venice at 
the time : and they, equally carried away by the music, 
pressed him to visit Hanover and England. 

Chapter III 

Rome The "Arcadians" Ottoboni's Academy La Resurrezione 
Contest with Scarlatti Attempt to convert Handel to the Roman 
Faith // Trionfo del Tempo Handel leaves Rome for Naples Aci^ 
Galatea, e Polifemo Boschi, the bass singer Handel's social life at 
Naples Leaves Naples for Rome Leaves Rome for Venice Goes 
to Hanover, and thence to London. 

THREE months were spent at Venice, and on April 4th, 
1708, Handel was again in Rome. 

We have seen how Italian opera arose in Florence 
through the efforts of a small society of enthusiasts to 
revive the ancient Greek drama in a modern form. 
These learned and artistic societies were not uncommon 
in Italy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

In 1 6 9 o an " Academy " of poets, savants and ~, 

musicians was founded at Rome for the cultiva- A , . 

r , . , ^, r Arcadians 

tion of poetry and music, under the name of 

" Arcadia," the members being called Arcadian Shepherds, 
and having names such as Olinto, Almiride, Egeria, etc., 
assigned to them. Among them were Marchese Ruspoli, 
afterwards Prince of Cervetri, and his wife Isabella, who 
was a " shepherdess " ; the priest, Crescimbeni, who wrote 
the history of the Arcadians ; Countess Capizucchi ; the 
poet Stampiglia, and Cardinal Paolucci. 

Membership of the Academy was not confined to the 
inhabitants of Rome, but was spread throughout Italy, 



and at one time numbered 1500. It included several 
of the popes, all the cardinals, many foreign princes, the 
Queen of Poland, and other ladies of high position ; the 
musicians Corelli, A. Scarlatti, Pasquini, Marcello, the 
German poet Postel, and an Englishman, Daniel Lock. 
There was another " Academy " at Rome presided over 

SM* z > by Cardinal Ottoboni, in whose palace the 
Uttobont ^ 

A , members met weekly for the practice of 

Academy J . r 

extemporaneous poetry and music, under the 

leadership of Corelli, who was an intimate friend of 
Ottoboni, with whom he lived. 

No opera was permitted at this time in Rome, but 
every other kind of music was cultivated by the two 
Academies. The performers were the best artists avail- 
able, and Ottoboni, besides sustaining an orchestra, had 
command of the papal choir. He was a man of great 
wealth, which he spent in employing the best artists, and 
in succouring the poor. 

Handel was received with open arms by the Arcadians, 
though, as he had not yet reached his twenty-fourth year, 
he could not become a member; for the rules of the 
society prescribed this as necessary for membership. He 
was at once introduced to the Ottoboni Academy, and 
here all the works he composed at Rome were performed. 

A T . r He seems to have been the guest of the 

An Italian ,, . - ^ .. TT . . _ 

~ . . Marquis of Ruspoli. His oratorio La 
Oratorio . ,-,,, i ^ 

Resurrezwne is dated "Roma la Festa di 

Pasque dal Marchese Ruspoli n d'Aprile 1708." The 
author of the words is unkown. 

It contains parts for two flutes, two German flutes, 
two bassoons, two trumpets, harpsichord, viola-da-gamba, 
theorbo, archlute, and string quartet. A " song of angels " 


Handel and the Roman Faith 

is accompanied by four violins. It was first performed at 
Cardinal Ottoboni's Academy. 

Domenico Scarlatti 1 happened to be in Rome at this time, 
and at the instance of Cardinal Ottoboni a r t t 

competition took place between him and ' . , 

Handel. On the organ Handel was declared ^ 

... ., , ,.,. . JL/omenico 

the conqueror, while the contest was doubtful ~ . . 

with regard to the harpsichord. D. Scarlatti 
was undoubtedly one of the finest harpsichord players of 
the day, but from this time, whenever he was praised for 
his playing, " he would mention Handel, and cross him- 
self in token of admiration." 2 The two musicians re- 
tained the greatest esteem for each other throughout their 
lives, in spite of the contest. It will be remembered that 
Marchand fled from the proposed contest with Bach, but 
that Bach was generous enough never to willingly refer to 
the event. Handel and Bach had in common that lofty 
spirit of generosity which is found in most composers of 
the first rank. They were both too great to be influenced 
by the petty jealousies and rivalries that are so frequently 
found amongst musicians of a less calibre. 

In Rome attempts were made to convert Handel to the 

Roman religion perhaps by his friend Pam- _, ~ , 

i j u A, u u j Efforts to 

phili. He was asked whether he had ever u 

considered the origin and creed of the Luth- ,.,. , . 

,. . f , ^, , r Handel to 

eran religion, or of the one true Church ; for , 

this is a matter of salvation, of more import- *? 

ance than our life and all our works. Handel 
frankly answered that he had neither the calling nor the 
ability to make independent researches into the differences 

1 Son of Alessandro. 2 Mainwaring. 



of Church teaching, but he assured his interlocutor that he 
was firmly resolved to continue all his life as a member of 
that Church in whose bosom he had been born and 
brought up. The religion of Luther exactly suited strong 
characters such as those of Handel and Bach, and their 
music is throughout influenced by it. It is satisfactory to 
note that these theological differences in no way disturbed 
the friendly relations that existed between Handel and 
the Church authorities at Rome. 

Shortly after the production of La Resurrezione, he 
Th S d com P ose d H Trionfo del Tempo e del Disin- 
j- j. ' ganno, which, nearly thirty years later, he 
~ . . worked up into the English oratorio, The 
Triumph of Time and Truth. The char- 
acters were : Bellezza, Beauty ; Piacere, Pleasure ; Tempo, 
Time ; and Disinganno, Counsel. The text, which treated 
of the temptations caused by the two former characters, 
and their subordination by the two latter, was written for 
him by Cardinal Pansili. It was called a " Serenata," 
since the words were not taken from Scripture. It con- 
tains two quartets, an unusual combination of voices in 
those days. 

The vigorous character of the music was new to the 

~ 77 . , Italians, and Corelli complained of its diffi- 

Corellt ana .^ . ,, ... , ^ ^, 

TT T p culty, especially with regard to the overture. 

,, . * Handel having tried in vain to get him to 
give the requisite fire and strength to the 
music, snatched the violin out of his hand, and played 
the passages himself, to show the company how little 
Corelli understood them. Poor Corelli, of a shy and retiring 
disposition, confessed that he could not understand the 
matter, and he had not the requisite power. " But, my 


Goes to Naples 

dear Saxon," said he, " this music is in the French style, 
which I do not understand." Thereupon Handel com- 
posed a " symphony " in the Italian style, in place of the 
overture. Hawkins tells us that Handel was com- 
petent at any time to take a violin from the hands 
of a player and show him how he wished the passages 

He was on intimate terms with Cardinal Pansili, who 
wrote words for several secular cantatas which he set to 
music, but these works are lost. Among them is a poem 
on Handel himself comparing him to Orpheus. 

Handel was completely happy in the society of the 
Arcadian Shepherds at Rome, though he was never elected 
a member ; but his stay was cut short by political 
exigencies. Trouble had for some time been brewing 
between the Pope, Clement XL, and the Emperor of 
Austria on account of the Spanish succession, and the 
Pope had walled up eight out of the eighteen gates of 
Rome. As an army was now advancing ff d I 
against the city, Handel departed in June an e 

1708 to escape being besieged. He tra- j^^7 

veiled to Naples, and found German troops , ? 

everywhere in Neapolitan territory. That 
he was very sorry to leave, is shown by a " 

MS., " Partenza di G. B. Cantata di G. F. 
Hendel," the words of which are a lamenta- 
tion over the fate that drives him from the beautiful 
banks of the Tiber. 

Chrysander says that it is more than probable that the 
two Scarlattis and Corelli travelled with him to Naples. 
Alessandro Scarlatti was at that time capellmeister at 
Sta. Maria Maggiore in Rome, and on resigning this 


post he became head of the Conservatorio at Naples, 
where he founded the famous Neapolitan school of 

A chamber trio, Se tu non lasci amore> signed " G. 

F. Handel, li 12 Luglio 1708, Napoli," shows that he 

. . was at Naples in July, and all authorities are 

(?\ . agreed that he here wrote the Italian serenata, 

ePoli Aci > Galattea > e Polifemo} which is really 

601 a cantata for three voices and orchestra, 

without chorus, overture, or division into acts. 

The introductory duet is accompanied by two violon- 
cellos and a double bass. The part of Polifemo was 
written for a bass singer of extraordinary compass, since 
the music comprises a range of two octaves and five 
notes ; and even a greater compass is found in the solo 
cantata, Nell* Africane selve> where the singer has to leap 

from : = to 

Chrysander thinks that the remarkable bass for whom 
these two works were written was Boschi, who afterwards 
sang in London. Burney says " Handel's genius and fire 
never shone finer than in the bass songs which he com- 
posed for Boschi, whose voice being sufficiently powerful 
to penetrate through a multiplicity of musical parts, 
Handel set every engine to work in the orchestra to enrich 

1 This is the title of the MS. The second name is spelled 
" Galathea " by Fe"tis. 


Pastoral Symphony 

the harmony, and enliven the movement." According 
to Mainwaring, a palace, with free board, , ., 

was placed at Handel's disposal, together 

with carriages and every convenience, by a 
wealthy lady, Donna Laura, and he was very much sought 
after by members of the best society, who considered 
themselves fortunate when they were able to entertain 
him. This Donna Laura seems to have been a Spanish 
lady, for amongst the Italian cantatas is found one for 
voice and guitar in the Spanish language. 

The dates and times of Handel's sojourns at the vari- 
ous Italian towns can only be guessed at by reference to 
such of his works as have come down to us in their ori- 
ginal form complete, and with the dates and places of 
their composition given on them. He seems to have left 
Naples in the autumn of 1709. 

Amongst the works composed there are seven French 
cazonets with harpsichord accompaniment which were 
written more as studies in the French style than for 
performance. They contain many corrections and 
improvements in pencil and ink. 

About Christmas 1709 he was in Rome again for the 
third time. Here he heard the Calabrian . . . 
Pifferari, who every year come to Rome to 

celebrate the birth of Christ by singing and ^ . . , , 7 ' 
, , ' !Lu Origin of the 

playing an ancient melody in memory of their * J 

predecessors, the shepherds of Bethlehem. 
This melody was years afterwards employed ym ^. *? 
by Handel in the Messiah under the name <t M m . , * 
of the " Pastoral Symphony," over which he 
wrote " Pif," i.e. Pifferari. 1 He also performed Act here. 
1 Pifferare, It. : to play the fife. 


Leaving Rome he went to Venice " in search of em- 
ployment," where he arrived during the Carnival in 1710. 
Here he made the acquaintance of Baron Kielmannsegge 

TT , , and Capellmeister Steffani, 1 who persuaded 
Handel , TT i i i i j 

lea es Ital ^ Hanover, though he wished to 

go to England. 2 On his arrival he was 
recommended by his two friends to the Elector of Bruns- 
wick, afterwards George I. of England, as capellmeister. 
The Abbe Steffani is said to have resigned his post of 
Cai)ell capellmeister in Handel's favour. Schcelcher 

meister to P omts out t ' iat a R man Catholic abbe could 
the Elector not ^ ave ^ e ^ SUC ^ a P ost * n a Lutheran estab- 
of Han er ^ snment - ^etis sa y s > "The Duke of Bruns- 
wick had entrusted the direction of his theatre 
to Steffani, but the quarrels among the singers caused him 
to beg for his dismissal. ... He had taken high rank 
among politicians, and, in 1710, he left his posts of 
capellmeister and director of music, designating Handel 
as his successor, after which he lived as a courtier in the 
society of the great." All this goes against Schcelcher's 
argument. Art is more cosmopolitan than religion, and 
princes were wise enough to see that theological differ- 
ences made no difference in the musicianship of a man. 
Our own Tallis held his post under four sovereigns 
Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary and Elizabeth at a time 
when the rival theologians were burning and imprisoning 
each other to their heart's content. 

1 See Glossary. 

2 Vide A. Reissmann, G. F. Handel, 1882, p. 41. The dates and 
facts differ from Schcelcher, p. 25, who says he went to Germany in 
1709, and visited Hanover without having definitely decided on which 
town to fix. 


Second Appointment 

The following is Handel's account of the transaction, 
given in his own words to Hawkins : " When I first 
arrived at Hanover I was a young man, under twenty ; I 
was acquainted with the merits of Steffani, and he had 
heard of me. 1 I understood somewhat of music, and," 
putting forth both his broad hands, and extending his 
fingers, " could play pretty well on the organ. He received 
me with great kindness, and took an early opportunity to 
introduce me to the Princess Sophia and the Elector's 
son, giving them to understand that I was what he pleased 
to call a virtuoso in music ; he obliged me with instruc- 
tions for my conduct and behaviour during my residence 
at Hanover, and being called from the city to attend to 
matters of a public concern, he left me in possession of 
that favour and patronage which he himself had enjoyed 
for a series of years." 

Handel's salary at Hanover was fifteen hundred 
ducats, about ^300. Bach's salary at this time was 
,15, 133. 3d.; such was the difference between the 
income of a rising church musician and that of a rising 
composer of operas. Handel at once obtained leave of 
absence in order to go to England, but he first paid a 
visit to his mother and Zachau at Halle. v . . rr // 
Here he found that his youngest sister, Vm *s JiaUe 
Johanna Christiana, had died in 1709, at the age of 
twenty ; his elder sister Dorothea Sophia had married a 
barrister, Dr Michael Dieterich Michaelsen, who later 
became a member of the Prussian War Office. Mainwar- 
ing says that his mother had become blind, but this is an 
error, for she retained her sight for another twenty years. 

1 They had met at Venice. Handel is too modest to say *' he had 
heard me." 



From Halle he travelled to Dusseldorf, where he 
Goes was the guest of the Elector J nn William, 

to London ^ t ^ ie ^falz, w ^o presented him with a 
silver table service. From here he journeyed 
through Holland to London, arriving there in the autumn 
of 1710. 


Chapter IV 

The condition of opera in England The public demand for something 
better Handel produces Rinaldo Thomas Britton, the small coal 
man Handel returns to Hanover The Opera at Hanover Handel 
obtains leave of absence Produces // Pastor Fido in London His 
life at Burlington House Teseo Ode for the Birthday of Queen 
Anne' ' Utrecht " Te Deum and Jubilate Coronation of George I. 

OPERA had grown out of the Masque in England through 

the genius of Henry Purcell, whose recitative, r ,... 

, , ,, <- i T IT> {sOn&inon 

" no less rhetorically perfect than Lulli s, was O f j) rama fa 

infinitely more natural, and frequently im- * Music in 
passioned to the last degree : and his airs, London 
despite his self-confessed admiration for the 
Italian style, show little trace of the forms then most in 
vogue, but breathing rather the spirit of unfettered 
national melody, stand forth as models of refinement 
and freedom." * 

Purcell wrote no less than thirty-nine operas : but they 
were not operas in the complete sense of the term, since 
they were in reality dramas with musical scenes inter- 
mingled. Hence Chrysander always refers to them as 
"Half-operas." But Purcell had no successor of his 
calibre to carry on the work. He died in 1695, and 
music in London was for some years chiefly confined to 

i W. S. Rockstro in " Dictionary of Music and Musicians " (Grove), 
vol. ii. p. 507. 



" Concerts " of vocal and instrumental music, Italian 
" Intermezzi, or interludes, and mimical entertainments 
of singing and dancing," performed by Italian and 
English musicians. In 1704 a musical entertainment, 
" after the manner of an opera," called Britain 's Happiness, 
was performed at Drury Lane Theatre, 1 the vocal part of< 
which was composed by John Weldon, afterwards organist 
and composer of the Chapel Royal, the instrumental 
part by Charles Dieupart, a French violinist and 
cembalist. This work was also performed at the same 
time at the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, with music by 
Leveridge, a bass singer. In the same year Matthew 
Lock's opera Psyche, and John Banister's Circe were 
revived. These attempts were not in themselves very 
successful, but they prepared the British public for 
Italian opera, which was now "stealing into England, 
but in as rude a disguise as possible, in a lame hobbling 
translation, with false quantities, sung by our own un- 
skilful voices, with graces misapplied to almost every 
sentiment, and with action lifeless and unmeaning through 
every character." 2 

1 The theatres in London were (i) in Drury Lane; (2) in the 
Haymarket, called the Queen's, or King's, or the Great Theatre, or 
the Opera House ; (3) in the Haymarket, called the Little Theatre ; 
(4) a theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields ; and (5) in Covent Garden, 
a new house opened on December 7th, 1732, by John Rich. Other 
places of public entertainment at which Handel's music was per- 
formed were Marylebone Gardens ; Ranelagh Gardens, with a large 
Rotunda, having a band-stand in the centre ; and Vauxhall, after- 
wards known as Spring Gardens. 

2 Colley Gibber, quoted by Burney, " History of Music," vol. iv. 
p. 198. 


English Opera 

In January 1705, Arsinoe, Queen of Cyrus , by Stanzani, 
which had first been performed at Bologna in 1677, was 
set to English words by Thomas Clayton, and performed 
at Drury Lane by English singers "after the Italian 
manner." The music seems to have been composed by 
Clayton. Burney says that " not only the common rules 
of musical composition are violated in every song, but 
also the prosody and accents of our language. The 
translation is wretched; but it is rendered much more 
absurd by the manner in which it is set to music. In- 
deed, the English must have hungered and thirsted 
extremely after dramatic music at this time to be attracted 
and amused by such trash." It had a run of twenty-four 

In 1706 Camilla, by Stampiglio, was adapted in the 
same manner by Owen MacSwiney, and performed, with 
a run of nine nights, at Drury Lane, the singers being the 
same as in Arsinoe ; and at the Haymarket Theatre, Sir 
John Vanbrugh and Mr Congreve gave a translated opera, 
The Temple of Love, set to " Italian music " by Greber, a 
German. It was worse than the previous attempts, and, 
being only performed twice, was succeeded by Durfey's 
comic opera, The Wonders of the Sun. In 1707 Camilla 
was revived at Drury Lane, and was sufficiently attractive 
to damage the fortunes of the ordinary English plays. 
In the same year Addison, who had been in Italy, em- 
ployed Clayton to set his opera Rosamond to music, which 
was performed three times at Drury Lane, and the atroci- 
ous character of the music caused it never to be performed 
again. It was succeeded by Thomyris, Queen of Scythia, 
written by Motteux, and " adjusted " to airs by Bononcini 
and Scarlatti by Doctor Pepusch. The English portions 
D 49 


were sung by English performers, the Italian by an 
artificial soprano, Valentini Urbani, and Signora de 
1'Epine. Its music was the best that had yet been 

Italian singers were now beginning to pour into England, 
and the public, after having been regaled for so many years 
on the poorest of music, was ripe for something better. 
In January 1708, the London Daily Post announced 
that " by agreement between Swiney and Rich, the Hay- 
market is to be appropriated to operas, and Drury Lane 
to plays. Love's Triumph, by Ottoboni, the English 
words " adjusted " to the airs of Carlo C. Giovanni by 
Motteux, and with choruses and dances after the French 
manner, was tried, to see if the English audience preferred 
French or Italian music. It had no success. Scarlatti's 
Pyrrhus and Demetrius, translated by MacSwiney and 
arranged by Haym, followed ; it had a considerable suc- 
cess, perhaps owing to the appearance in it of an artificial 
soprano, Nicolini Grimaldi, a great Neapolitan singer, 
but a still greater actor. The promoters of Italian opera 
may now be considered to have succeeded in firmly 
establishing it on English soil. The taste of the public 
was improving, and there was a growing demand for better 

As in Hamburg the operas were performed in a mixture 
of Italian and German, so in London these first perform- 
ances were in Italian and English. Busby calls these 
polyglot operas " gallimaufries." 

In January 1710, Almahide, an opera by an unknown 
composer, was performed entirely in Italian, and on May 
3rd, Hydastes, by Mancini, was performed in Italian " with 
English singing between the acts." 

First London Opera 

The advent of Italian opera was strongly opposed by 
Steele and Addison, who attacked it with all opposition 
the power of their sarcasm and wit. Addison, //* 
in the Spectator, having abused the "con- troduction 
fusion of tongues" in the early operas, now O f Italian 
began to talk of the taste for performances / Opera 
in which not a word could be understood. 
" Amateurs, tired with only understanding half the piece, 
found it more convenient not to understand any." " It 
does not," says he, " want any measure of sense to see 
the ridicule of this monstrous practice." 

Addison's Spectator and Steele's Tatter could not stem 
the rising tide it is possible that they even helped the 
movement by calling attention to it ; for many an under- 
taking is pushed forward as much by the attacks of its 
enemies as by the exertions of its promoters. Moreover, 
the English opera, Rosamond, by Addison and Clayton, 
produced at Drury Lane in 1707, had proved a failure ; 
and Burney thinks that the hostility evinced by the 
Spectator was a deliberate attempt to conceal the 

A composer who had made himself famous throughout 
Italy was now visiting London, and his presence was at 
once taken advantage of to provide something better than 
the London public had yet experienced. 

The director of the Haymarket Theatre, the poet Aaron 

Hill, arranged a book in English out of Tasso's ^ , 

, ~ . jcianael s 

Jerusalem Delivered, and engaged Giacomo p. . ~ 

Rossi to translate it into Italian, and Handel . ,. *, 
to set it to music. The latter went to work 
with his usual furious enthusiasm, and the poor poet 
could not keep pace with him. The music was written 


in a fortnight, and Rossi complains that " Signer Hendel, 
the Orpheus of our century, in setting it to music, has 
hardly given him time to write it." The success was 
enormous. An air, Cara sposa, sung by Nicolini, was 
considered by the composer to be one of the best he ever 
made; and Walsh, the publisher, made fifteen hundred 
pounds by the publication of this opera, which was called 

The first performance took place on February 24, 
1711, and its success roused the anger of Steele and 
Addison. Unusual care and expense was lavished on 
the stage arrangements and machinery. The gardens of 
Armida were filled with live birds, which Addison contemp- 
tuously called sparrows. It was played fifteen nights in 
succession, a rare thing in those days. The part of Rin- 
aldo was written for Nicolini, whose voice, formerly a 
soprano, had now become a contralto. Hill dedicated 
the work to Queen Anne. The air " Cara sposa " was 
played on all the harpsichords in England. The march 
became the regimental march of the Life Guards for forty 
years, and twenty years later was adapted by Pepusch to 
the Robbers' Chorus in the Beggars' Opera. A piece in 
the second act was sung in all merrymakings to the words, 
" Let the waiter bring clean glasses " ; and the air " Lascia 
die io pianga " is still popular. With reference to the 
^1500 gained by Walsh, Handel is said to have proposed 
that Walsh should compose the next opera, and that he 
(Handel) should sell it, in order that they might be on a 
more equal footing. The work afterwards reached Italy 

1 The "publication" of an opera in those days usually only meant 
the publication of its favourite songs, with figured bass accompaniment. 
The recitatives were omitted. 


Small Coal Man 

(where it was performed at Naple by Leonardo Leo), and 
Hamburg, and was revived again and again in London. 

Meanwhile the court and the public were most enthusi- 
astic over Handel's harpsichord and organ 
playing, and when the time drew near for his JT 
return to Hanover, Queen Anne made him 
promise to come again as soon as possible. 
He had astonished and delighted everyone by his many- 
sided genius. 

The first regular weekly concerts that we hear of 
in London were those given by Thomas yr, 
Britton, the small coal man. This extra- Br'tton 
ordinary character made his living by sell- 
ing coal about the streets, which he carried in sacks on 
his back for it was of too small a quality to be carried 
in a vehicle. When his daily round was finished he went 
home to his shop near Clerkenwell Green, changed his 
clothes, and was then ready to receive his company. He 
was a most enthusiastic collector of music and musical 
books. He converted the long low loft over his shop 
into a regular concert-room, in which were all kinds of 
instruments, including a small organ. For some thirty 
years this room, which could only be approached by a 
narrow outside staircase, and was " so mean in every 
respect as to be only a fit habitation for a very poor man," 
was the weekly resort of all musical amateurs of whatever 
wealth or rank, and of all professional musicians. Britton 
made no charge for his concerts ; all who came were his 
guests. Dukes and duchesses, gentlemen and ladies, 
musicians and singers, all met on equal terms in the 
small coal man's loft, to listen to and perform the best 
chamber music of the day. Handel was a welcome and 



frequent performer on the organ here, and here he met 
all the best musicians of London. Matthew Dubourg, 
who afterwards was associated with him in the perform- 
ance of the Messiah at Dublin, and who became his chief 
violinist, made his public debiit at Thomas Britton's 
rooms, as a child, standing on a stool, and playing a solo 
by Corelli. Handel probably first met him here. Besides 
the organ Handel used to play the harpsichord at Britton's 
room. In this he had a rival in William Babell, organist to 
George I., who became his pupil, and did much to spread 
a knowledge of his clavier music. Amongst it was pub- 
lished by Walsh a " Harpsichord piece " played by Handel 
in one of the songs in Rinaldo, which made a great sensa- 
tion ; but he is supposed to have extemporised it, for in 
the score are found some blank bars marked " Cembalo." 
Handel had a very pleasant visit to London. He 
y. . , . seems to have left some time after the close 

M*th ^ ^ t ^ 16 P era season on J une 2n d- He paid 
a visit to his mother at Halle, where, accord- 
ing to the register of the church of Notre Dame de 
Laurent, he stood godfather to his neice, Johanna 
Michaelsen, on June 23, at that church. The infant 
was called Friederike, perhaps after her uncle and god- 
father. Handel never ceased to have a special affection 
for this child of his only living sister, and he made her 
the principal beneficiary in his will. 

He now resumed his duties as capellmeister at the 

TL TV, ^ Court of Hanover. The theatre was one 
Ihe Ineatre e , ~ L . , .^ 

rr of the finest in Europe, and it was sup- 

ported entirely at the cost of the Elector, 
and no charge was made for admission. In addition to 
the capellmeister there was attached to the Court a poet, 


In London Again 

the Abbe Hortensio Mauro, who was also employed as 
private secretary, master of the ceremonies, and political 
agent. Handel composed for Princess Caroline, step- 
daughter of the Elector, thirteen chamber r , , 

, . , . , . . , . Chamber 

duets and twelve cantatas, which are printed in Duets and 

Arnold's edition, and he seems to have com- . ! 

. . , Cantatas 

posed nothing else except his oboe-concertos. 

Mainwaring says that the words of the twelve cantatas 
were written by Mauro. His chamber duets bear signs 
of the influence of his friend Steffani, whose works he 
studied diligently, and who had considerable influence 
on his artistic development. 

Handel was always seeking to perfect himself in his 
art ; wherever he found anything worth learning he set 
himself diligently to learn it. Except for the few years he 
studied under Zachau he was his own teacher, simply 
observing and assimilating all that he could learn from 
the works of his predecessors. He neither composed nor 
performed any opera at Hanover, and he did not remain 
there long. He had seen during his visit to //"/// 

London that this was the right place in which 
to exercise his talents, and, unable to longer Tf^ 

resist the pressing invitations he received, 9 ns 

backed by his own ardent wishes, he obtained r , eave 
leave of absence " on condition that he en- ' 
gaged to return within a reasonable time." How he inter- 
preted this condition will be seen in due course. 

In November 1712 he was again in London. The 
opera was now under the management of ///> / 
MacSwiney, who engaged Handel to write as j 

II Pastor fdo. He finished it on November ' 

4th, 1712, and it was produced on the 2ist of the same 



month. The author of the libretto was Rossi, who dedicated 
it to the " Most illustrious Lady Anna Cartwright." The 
prices of the seats were "as usual" boxes, 8s.; pit, 55.; 
gallery, 25. 6d. Nicolini had left England, and his place 
was taken by Cavaliere Valeriano Pellegrini, an artificial 
soprano ; the other parts being sung by Leveridge, 
Signora de 1'Epine, Mrs Barbier a contralto, and Signora 
Schiavonetti. The opera was sung entirely in Italian. 
It failed to please, and was withdrawn in February after 
only six performances. 

Handel, being only on a visit to London, and with no 
assured position, did not as yet settle down. He was the 
,. y. . guest at this time of a Mr Andrews, of Barn 

tje in Elms, in Surrey, who also had a house in 
town. After living with Mr Andrews for a 
year, he yielded to the pressing invitation of the Earl of 
Burlington, who had recently built a fine house in Picca- 
dilly, now the Royal Academy, to stay with him, and 
here he remained no less than three years. He had full 
liberty to make any disposal of his time that suited him, 
and we read that "he was very regular and uniform in 
his habits. He worked in his study every morning till 
the dinner hour, when he sat down with men of the first 
eminence for genius and abilities of any in the kingdom," 
who were, like himself, guests of Lord Burlington. He 
thus became acquainted with Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot, 
the last of whom afterwards befriended him with his pen 
when he was being severely handled by his enemies. In the 
afternoons he would frequently attend service at St Paul's 
Cathedral, of which Brind was then organist. The organ, 
by " Father Smith," was comparatively new, and he was 
particularly pleased with its tone. Moreover, it had 


Doctor Greene 

pedals, a very unusual circumstance at that time. On 
this organ Handel used to play the concluding volun- 
taries, and many persons were attracted by his perform- 
ances. He would then often adjourn to the Queen's 
Arms Tavern in St Paul's Churchyard, with members of 
the choir. Here was a large room with a harpsichord, 
and he would sometimes remain there making music for 
the whole evening. On other evenings, if there was no 
opera in progress, he would assist at the concerts at 
Burlington House, in which his own music took a large 
place. 1 Such was his daily life during this his second 
visit to London. 

Maurice Greene, who afterwards became Professor of 
Music to the University of Cambridge and Master of the 
King's Music, was at that time articled to 
Brind, and became a great admirer of Handel, ^ 
even going so far as to blow the organ, in 
order to enjoy the pleasure of hearing him play. He con- 
stantly went to see him at Burlington House, and after- 
wards at Canons, so that his visits became more frequent 
than welcome. Handel, however, bore with him, until 
he found that Greene was paying the same attentions to 
Bononcini, whereupon he refused any longer to receive 
him. We shall meet with Greene later. 2 

1 "History of Music," Hawkins. 

2 There is a good anecdote relating to Maurice Greene and Handel 
which, if not complimentary to Greene, at least shows the ready wit 
of the "Saxon giant." One day Greene took coffee with Handel, 
having previously left the MS. of an anthem for the great German's 
approval. A variety of subjects were discussed, but not a word said 
by Handel concerning the composition. At length Greene whose 
patience was exhausted, said, with eagerness and anxiety which he 



// Pastor Fido was followed by a five-act opera, Teseo, 
j, on January loth, 1713, " with raised prices." 

The libretto was written by Haym, and 
dedicated to Lord Burlington. The work is on a far 
larger scale than its predecessor. It was finished on 
December 19, 1712, and was rehearsed and put on the 
stage in twenty-one days. All the dresses were new, as 
were the scenery, machines, and decorations. The 
house was well filled, and the first performances were 
very successful ; but even at this early stage financial 
troubles began to afflict operatic enterprise, and they 
seem to have been inseparable from Italian opera 
throughout its history. MacSwiney, the director of the 
theatre, had to fly from his creditors, and the singers had 
to take their chance of making what they could by further 
performances on their own account, dividing the proceeds 
amongst themselves. Handel went without his fee, but 
was to some extent indemnified by a performance on 
May 1 6th " for the benefit of Mr Hendel, with an enter- 
tainment for the harpsichord." The " entertainment for 
the harpsichord" seems afterwards to have become a 
regular feature between the acts of both opera and 
oratorio, and several of Handel's concertos were written 
for this purpose. 

could no longer conceal : " Well, sir, but my anthem what do you 
think of it?" "Oh! your antum. Ah! I did tink dat it vanted 
air." " Air," said Greene. " Yes, air ; and so I did hang it out of 
de vindow," replied Handel. " Musical Anecdotes," v. i (Crowest). 
This story, which is told by Busby, is discredited by the best authorities 
(Schcelcher, Chrysander, Rockstro) on the ground that not only does 
it contain a foolish pun, but the gratuitous insult is entirely contrary 
to what is known of Handel's kindly nature. 


A Coincidence 

One of the chief arias in Teseo (1713) contains the 
following theme 


Ne vuo che de'miei dan - ni e de sofferti affan-ni e de 

J. S. Bach has, in a church cantata, composed 1714 

Soprano. Ich hatte viel Be - kum-mer-nis, ich hatte viel Be kiim-mer 

/. L \ |\ |\ \ \ p \ \ \ \ \ _fe 

zzHzr J_*_*zz 

niTfftj - - 

Tenor. Ich hatte viel Be-kum-mer-nis ich hatte 

Handel, in Ads and Galatea (1720), has 


The flocks shall leave the mountain, The woods the turtle dove. 

Bach, in an organ fugue, composed in 1724 or 1725, 
has the theme 

Handel has frequently been accused of appropriating 
the musical ideas of others to his own use ; of stealing 
them in fact. Did Bach in this case steal from Handel ? 
We shall refer to this subject in a later chapter. 



Two important works, with English words, next claim 
. ,, our attention. An Ode for the Birthday of 
Od d Queen Anne and a Te Deum and Jubilate. 
y, j^ The first was performed on February 6th, 

1713, probably at St James's Palace on the 
forty-ninth birthday of the Queen ; the author of the 
words is unknown. It praises Queen Anne for bringing 
about the Peace of Utrecht. It consists of short choruses, 
solos, and duets. Some of the music was afterwards 
used in Deborah, and one of the movements is taken 
almost note for note from an oboe concerto. The sixth 
chorus contains the germ of part of the Hallelujah Chorus 
in the Messiah. 

At the same time Handel composed a Te Deum and 
Jubilate on the model of that of Purcell (which was per- 
formed every year at the festival of the sons of the clergy 
at St Paul's) in order to be ready in case an occasion 
arose for it. It was completed on January i4th, 1713. 
At that time the English statute required that the chief 
musician of the Court should be a native. The holder of 
the post was John Eccles, and it was part of his duty to 
supply any music that was required for State functions. 
But Queen Anne overrode the law. She commissioned 
Handel to prepare his Te Deum for the celebration of the 
Peace of Utrecht. This peace was signed on March 3151, 
1713, and on July 7th the Queen went from Windsor to 
St James's Palace to return thanks to God for the blessings 
of peace. The Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate were pro- 
bably performed at St Paul's Cathedral on the day of 
thanksgiving. Queen Anne did not love the Hanoverian 
Court, yet such was her appreciation of art that she 
rewarded the Hanoverian capellmeister with a pension 


Death of Anne 

for life of 200. As he was already in receipt of ^300 
a year from the Court of Hanover, and was at no expense 
for board and lodging, he must have been in very com- 
fortable circumstances for a bachelor. To what uses he 
put the money he was able to earn will appear in the 
course of this narrative. 

Finding life very pleasant and profitable ,. , 

T j TT j i j u- 1 r Leave of 

in London, Handel outstayed his leave of , 

absence, and indeed seems to have made , 

up his mind never to return to Hanover. 

He was living and working practically in the country, 
yet within an easy walk of London. Lord Burlington's 
love of solitude had caused him to build his house "in 
the middle of the fields, where no one would come and 
build beside him." Gay refers to the "Fair Palace of 
Piccadilly, in Trivia : 

" There Hendel strikes the strings, the melting strain 
Transports the soul and thrills through every vein, 
There oft I enter." 

All that was expected of Handel in return for the 
hospitality given him was that he should conduct the 
Earl's concerts, and this comfortable arrangement might 
have gone on for some time but for the death of Queen 
Anne on August ist, 1714. She was succeeded by Handel's 
employer, the Elector of Hanover, who was about to be 
crowned at Westminster with the title of George the 
First of England. Handel carefully avoided the Elector. 
Not only had he broken his engagement, but in com- 
posing the "Utrecht" Te Deum he had given further 
offence, because the Treaty of Utrecht was not liked in 


Chapter V 

The Elector of Hanover becomes George I. of England- -Handel dares 
not meet him Silla Amadigi Parody on Amadigi Water 
Music Handel is received by George I. A letter to Matheson 
Handel goes to Hanover with the King Meets J. C. Smith 
Returns to England and becomes Capellmeister at Canons Esther 
Acts and Galatea The Harmonious Blacksmith Legends Death of 
Handel's sister He is engaged by the Royal Academy of Music. 

THE Elector landed at Greenwich on September iSth, 

A . , , 1714, and was crowned at Westminster 
Arrival of /,, ^ ^ , TT j i 

~ , J Abbey on October 2oth. Handel must 

* * have looked on with some fear for his 
future prospects. For a servant to absent himself with- 
out leave from a court was, in those days, an unpardon- 
able offence ; and a capellmeister was, as we have seen, 
in the position of a servant, who once having accepted 
office could not even resign during his lifetime, without 
permission from his employer. Handel had now been 
some two years in London. He had long overstepped 
the " reasonable time " for which he was given leave of 
absence. He had accepted a pension from Queen Anne, 
who was bitterly opposed to the Hanoverian succession, 
and who had taken no pains to conceal her aversion ; he 
had provided a splendid piece of music for a Tory 
celebration, which was entirely distasteful to the Whigs, 
the supporters of the Hanoverian dynasty. He therefore 


Swiss Count 

carefully abstained from presenting himself at Court, and 
continued his quiet retired life at Burlington House. He 
composed a small opera called Silla which ... 

was never performed in public ; Chrysander 
suggests that it may have been performed privately at 
Burlington House, but there is no record of the matter. 
Schoelcher thinks it was written at Rome ; but there was 
no opera-house at Rome in those days, and Handel was 
not the man to waste time in composing anything that 
had not a reasonable chance of being performed. A 
copy of Silla in the British Museum (Add. MSS. 5334) 
is superscribed "an opera by Gio. Bononcini." Handel's 
original MS. is at Buckingham Palace. Its small com- 
pass, and the little significance of the songs are suggestive 
of its having been written for amateurs of no great skill. 

The theatre was carried on by Heidegger, a remark- 
able man something of a poet, a capable rr 'i 
manager, and the ugliest man in London. 
On this account his portrait was frequently engraved, 
under the name of the " Swiss Count." Lord Chester- 
field made a bet that no one so ugly could be found in 
London, but after a search, an old woman was discovered, 
and Heidegger was declared to be the handsomer of the 
two. But Lord Chesterfield won his bet by insisting on 
Heidegger's putting on the old woman's bonnet, when he 
appeared uglier than ever. 

Heidegger gave ten performances of Rinaldo this 
season which were attended by the Prince . ,. . 
and Princess of Wales, and arranged or wrote 
the libretto for a new opera by Handel, to be called 
Amadigi. The libretto is dedicated to the Earl of 
Burlington, because the music was composed in his house. 



Much of the music of Silla is used in it, but in a more 
developed form. 

The parts were sung by Nicolini, Signora Vico, 
Schiavonetti, and Anastasia Robinson, a young English 
singer of great reputation, who afterwards became the 
wife of the Earl of Peterborough. 

The plot of the opera turns on the love of Melissa, a 
sorceress, for Amadigi, who, finding that in spite of her 
machinations, her rival Oriana is preferred by her lover, 
kills herself. A rival of Amadigi, Dardanus, also dies, and 
reappears as a ghost. The opera ends with a chorus in 
gavotte form, which is afterwards repeated by the instru- 
ments alone, during a dance on the stage. The new 
opera was produced at the Haymarket on May 25th, 
1715, with great splendour. We learn that in conse- 
quence of the unusual amount of machinery and scenes 
employed, no persons, even the subscribers, were allowed to 
go behind the scenes on account of the danger they might 
incur. Amongst the novelties was a fountain with real 
water. An orchestral effect which Handel had previously 
used in La Resurrezione at Rome, but was new to the 
English public, was that of the violins playing in octaves. 
The popularity of Amadigi is attested by the fact that a 
burlesque called Amadis, "with all the sinkings, flyings, 
and usual decorations" was produced at the Theatre in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields. 

The breach between Handel and the King was not 
Q f suffered to continue long. Baron Kielmann- 
th^W t se SS e > w ^ was now m England, was the 
Music mediator. On August 22, 1715, the King, 

the Prince and Princess of Wales, and many 
of the nobility, made a picnic party on the Thames, going 


Water Party 

barges from Whitehall to Limehouse. When they 
returned in the evening the ships were illuminated with 
lanterns in their rigging, crowds of boats accompanied the 
procession, and guns were continually fired. Baron 
Kielmannsegge here saw his opportunity. He persuaded 
Handel to compose some music to be performed in a 
barge which should follow the royal barge. Twenty-five 
short pieces were supplied by Handel, which became 
known as the Water Music. The orchestra consisted of 
four violins, one viol, one violoncello, one double-bass, two 
oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two flageolets, one flute, 
and one trumpet. The King was much struck . , . . 

with the music, asked who was the composer, 

, , ' , , . . ,. TT reconciled 

and ordered Handel into his presence. He J7 

f , to the King 

praised the music, forgave the culprit, and 

bestowed a further pension of ,200 a year on him. 1 
The Daily Courant of July 19, 1717, gives the following 
:ount : 

"On Wednesday evening at about 8, the King took 
water at Whitehall in an open barge, wherein were also the 
dutchess of Bolton, the dutchess of Newcastle, the 
untess of Godolphin, Madam Kilmanseck, and the 
Earl of Orkney, and went up the river towards Chelsea. 
any other barges with persons of quality attended, and 
great a number of boats, that the whole river in a 
nner was covered: a city company's barge was em- 
loyed for the musick, wherein were fifty instruments of all 
rts, who play'd all the way from Lambeth (while the 
es drove with the tide, without rowing, as far as 
Chelsea), the finest symphonies, composed express for 

may conclude that he was no longer in receipt of the ^300 
>m the Hanoverian Court. 



this occasion, by Mr Hendel : which His Majesty liked 
so well, that he caused it to be played over three times in 
going and returning. At eleven, His Majesty went ashoar 
at Chelsea, where a supper was prepared, and then there 
was another very fine consort of musick which lasted till 
2 : after which His Majesty came again into his barge, 
and returned the same way, the musick continuing to 
play till he landed." 

Shortly after this Geminiani, the violinist, being anxious 
^ to get the best possible accompanist for a 

appoint- performance before the King, pressed for 

** . permission to employ Handel. This was 

ment , , r -*T- , 

granted under the influence of Kielmann- 

segge, and it led to the appointment of Handel as music- 
master to the daughters of the Prince of Wales at a 
further salary of ^"200 making, together with Queen 
Anne's ,200 and the King's ^"200, an income of ^"600. 
Handel seems to have soon been again regularly re- 
installed in his old place of court musician, for when the 
King went to Hanover in July Handel went with him. 
Another During this visit ne set to music Brockes' 
p . poem Der fur die Siinden der Welt gemarterte 

j.f . und sterbende Jesus^ which had been set by 

Keiser in 1712, and later by Telemann and 
Matheson. Handel's version was performed in Hamburg, 
probably in 1 7 1 7. J. S. Bach copied the score, calling it, 
in an odd mixture of Latin, French and Italian, Oratorium 
Passionate : Poesia di Brocks et Musica di Hendel. His 
copy has in one place different words from the other 
copies. The work is in the usual form of recitative, solos, 
choruses, and a portion of the chorale " Schmiicke dich O 
liebe Seele," " Decorate thyself, my soul," to be sung by 


Letter to Matheson 

the congregation. Handel's inveterate habit of utilising 
old work for new compositions led him to incorporate 
the music of the prayer in Gethsemane, " Mein Vater, ist 
moglich, so lass den Kelch voriibergehen," into Hainan's 
prayer to the Queen for pity in Esther : a proceeding for 
which, as Chrysander says, "no one can praise him." 
Much of the music is taken from his previous works, and 
most of what is new was utilised for later works, Esther, 
Debora, and the opera Julius C&sar. 

His old friend Matheson took the opportunity of his 
being in Germany to write several letters to him on the 
subject of his book Neueroffnetes Orchester. Handel after- 
wards wrote the following letter in French to him, which 
is not without interest : 

"SiR, The letter I have just received from you obliges 
me to answer you more fully than I have pre- ^ ,- , 
viously done on the two points in question. ,-. , 
I do not hesitate to assert that my opinion is 
in general conformity with that which you have so well 
expounded and proved in your book on Solmisation and 
the Greek Modes. The question, it seems to me, reduces 
itself to this : whether one ought to prefer a method which 
is easy and one of the most perfect ; or one which is full 
of great difficulties, capable not only of disgusting music 
students, but also causing them to waste valuable time, 
which could be far better used in exploring art and 
cultivating the natural gifts ? Not that I would say that 
one can find absolutely no use in Solmisation ; but since 
one can acquire the same knowledge in far less time by 
the method which is so successfully used at present, I 
do not see why one should not choose the road which 



leads us more easily and in less time to the object 

"As to the Greek Modes, I find, sir, that you have said 
all that can be said on them. A knowledge of them is 
doubtless necessary to those who wish to practise and 
perform ancient music composed in these modes : but 
since we are now freed from the narrow limits of ancient 
music, I do not see of what use the Greek Modes can be 
in modern music. These, sir, are my sentiments, and I 
should be glad if you would let me know whether they 
respond to what you expect from me. 

" With regard to the second point, you can judge for 
yourself that it requires a good deal of research, which I 
am unable to give owing to my many pressing engage- 
ments. When I am a little less occupied, I will think 
over the more important epochs in the course of my pro- 
fession, in order that you may see the esteem with which 
I have the honour to be, Sir, 

" Your very Humble and Obedient Servant, 


"LONDON, Feb. 21, 1719." 

Handel's views will probably agree with those of most 
practical, active musicians. The study of solmisation and 
the Greek modes is interesting to those who have leisure 
for antiquarian pursuits, but it is of no value to the 

The second question, as to personal details of his life, 
Handel had no time to discuss. The interviewer was not 
yet in existence ; and Handel would certainly have re- 
sented his presence if he had been. 


Duke of Chandos 

In 1716 he was at Anspach, a small town near Hom- 
burg, though in what capacity, or how long he . . 
stayed there, is not known. Here, we are . , 
told, he met an Englishman, John Christo- * 

pher Smith, whom he had known as a fellow-student at 
the University of Halle, and who was " so captivated with 
his powers, that he accompanied him to England, where 
he regulated the expenses of his public performances, and 
filled the office of treasurer with great fidelity." 1 

Handel, as usual, took an opportunity of visiting Halle. 

Zachau was dead, his widow in very poor ~ 7 , 

, jf J Zachau's 

circumstances, and her son a ne er-do-weel. TTr ., 

, . ^ e ,. , . Widow 

He made a point of sending her remittances , c 

r . r , , . , and Son 

from time to time in repayment for the kind- 
ness he had received from her husband, and he would 
have done the same for her son, but that he was told that 
he would only spend the money in drink. 

It is not known when he returned to England ; Chrys- 
ander says about Christmas, 1716. Rinaldo and Ama- 
digi were performed in 1717, and Handel is known to 
have been in London in 1 7 1 8. By this time the Italian 
opera had closed its doors through lack of support ; the 
theatre was given over to French dancers, and n d I 

Handel had to seek other employment. This 

, r j L r^ 9 / i becomes 

he found at Canons, a great palace near c h Jl 

Edgeware, which has now almost disappeared. - f 

The Duke of Chandos, in his capacity of pay- -, 

r\ A > C j j Canons 

master to Queen Anne s army, had amassed 

an enormous fortune, and had built a mansion at Edge- 
ware, which he called Canons, at a cost of .230,000. 

1 Anecdotes of Handel and Smith, quoted by Schoelcher, p. 44. 

2 Called in contemporary accounts Cannons. 


The greatest luxury and magnificence was maintained 
here, and the Duke, " who loved ever to worship the Lord 
with the best of everything," had, amongst other things, a 
private chapel in the style of the churches of Italy. This 
chapel is now the parish church of Whitchurch, or Little 
Stanmore. Its exterior is not particularly striking. The 
tower is the only old part, dating from the reign of Henry 
VIII. The interior is entirely covered with frescoes by Verrio 
and Laguerre, two French artists who were sent for specially 
to paint them. The organ, in a case by Gibbons, stands 
behind the altar, and is much hidden by it. The interior 
of the church is an exact imitation, on a minute scale, of 
the highly-decorated churches one is accustomed to see in 
Rome. To this chapel the Duke rode every Sunday, at- 
tended like the Pope, by Swiss guards, a hundred in num- 
ber, while Edgeware Road was thronged with the carriages 
of the nobility and gentry, who went to pray to God with 
his Grace. 

Besides the organ, a full orchestra was maintained, and 
a resident Chapelmaster, as in foreign courts. The first 
holder of the post was Dr Pepusch, who, with great mag- 
nanimity, retired in Handel's favour, and never seems to 
have borne him any ill-will afterwards. 

Handel set to work in his new post with great enthusi- 
asm. Like Haydn in later times at Esterhaz, he now had 
good singers, a chorus and orchestra entirely at his dis- 
posal, and a cultured audience to listen to his productions. 
-,, , He remained at Canons some three years, 

Utanac during which time he wrote the twelve 
Chandos Anthems for solos and choruses 
of three, four, and five voices, on the model of the 
motet or cantata of the Lutheran Church, and preceded 


Interior of Whitchurch Church 


by an overture, the words being selected from the Psalms. 
Some of these anthems were afterwards rearranged by him 
for use in the chapel of George the First. 

At Canons also he wrote his oratorio, Esther, whether 
by command of the Duke, or of his own free ^ , 
will, is not known. The text was arranged by , - ' 

S. Humphrey from Racine's " Esther," and EnUsh 
the music was largely borrowed from his ^ . 
T> **- T4. r A Oratorio 

Passion Music. It was performed on August 

29, 1720, at Canons, and the Duke paid Handel 1000 
for it. This was his first oratorio, and was designed to 
introduce to the English people a form of music whi 
they had not yet heard. But it was not really performed 
in public till much later, and after a few repetitions at 
Canons it was laid aside. Its overture, however, was 
performed every year for more than half a century, together 
with the " Utrecht " Te Deum, at the Festival of the Sons 
of the Clergy at St Paul's Cathedral. 

At Canons was also composed the serenata Ads and 
Galatea, the words being by Gay, Pope, Hughes, and 
Dryden. In Randall's edition it is called a . . , 
" mask," and in a text-book printed at Dublin, ^V/ 
" the celebrated masque." In a copy made by 
Smith in 1 7 20 it is called a " Pastoral." It is quite different 
from the Ad, Galattea e Polifemo composed at Naples in 
1708. A concerto was played on the organ by Handel 
between the acts, when the work was performed in public, 
but at Canons there was no break in the music. It 
seems to have been originally performed with scenery but 
without action at Canons in 1721. 

The organ had an inscription placed on it by Julius 
Plumer, of Edgeware Road, recording that " Handel was 


organist of this church from the year 1718 to 1721, and 
composed the oratorio of Esther upon this organ," which 
means that Handel played on this organ in the perform- 
ance of Esther, which took place in the church. 

Handel's first instrumental publication, "Suites de 

, . Pieces pour le Clavecin," said to have 

Clavier , c -n A 

p. been composed for Princess Anne, appeared 

in 1720. It was announced in the Daily 
Courant, under the title " Lessons for the Harpsichord." 
The publisher was Cluer ; the preface ran, " I have been 
obliged to publish some of the following lessons, because 
surrepticious and incorrect copies of them had got abroad. 
I have added several new ones to make the work more 
useful, which if it meets with a favourable reception, I 
will still proceed to publish more, reckoning it my duty, 
with my small talent, to serve a nation from which I have 
received so generous a protection. G. F. HANDEL." 

These pieces soon became universally popular, and 
were reprinted in France, Switzerland, Holland, and 
Germany ; but the promised further supply was not pub- 
lished till 1733. I* contains a chaconne with sixty-two 
variations on the same succession of chords as the Goldberg 
air, to which Bach wrote thirty variations, but the treatment 
of the subject by the two composers is entirely different. 

Handel's work is simply a popular air with variations, 
comparatively easy to play, and perfectly plain to the 
ordinary listener. Bach embellishes the simple harmonic 
groundwork with every conceivable device of imitation, 
canon, augmentation, diminution, change of time signa- 
ture, and rhythm; and demands the highest possible 
technical and intellectual skill from the performer. This 
difference, which is more or less found throughout the 



works of the two composers, is quite sufficient to explain 
why Handel was always popular, while Bach's music, 
great as it is, has only slowly won its way to favour. 




w- I 

* ttid 

9 . USE* 



The set of variations known as the Harmonious Black- 
smith occurs amongst the Suites de Pihes written at 
- Canons. How the name arose is not 

known : perhaps some fanciful editor gave 

#/ A vz, ft* as was tne case w i tn Beethoven's so- 
Jr>lacksmttri ,, , ,.. ,. ,. , . 

called Moonlight Sonata. It is quite certain 

that Handel never used it. Crotch stated that he had 
seen a book at Cambridge containing the melody of this 
piece attributed to Wagenseil. But various traditions 
and stories have arisen, which, although well known, 
must be referred to here. The first is that Handel took 
shelter from the rain in the shop of a blacksmith named 
Powell in the village of Edgeware, and that the blacksmith 
sang an old song in time to the hammer as it struck the 
anvil, the sound of which seems to have harmonised with 
some of the melody. On returning home the composer 
worked the blacksmith's song up in the way that is so 
familiar to all. Another tradition is that the tune was 
suggested by a combination of the note produced by the 
church bell which happened to be tolling, and that of the 
anvil. Richard Clark, in " Reminiscences of Handel," 
claims to have discovered Powell's anvil ; and Schcelcher 
says that a square shed was pointed out to him in the 
middle of the village street at Edgeware as Powell's forge. 
Rockstro 1 traces the history of Powell's anvil and hammer, 
which, after passing through various hands, were sold to 
Mr Maskelyne of the Egyptian Hall in 1879. The 
anvil, when struck, sounds the note B and immediately 
afterwards E. 

There is a legend emanating from Dr Rimbault, that 
the movement received its name from Lintott, a publisher 
!" Life of Handel." 

Letter to Michaelsen 

of Bath, who said, " My father was a blacksmith, and this 
was one of his favourite airs." There is a tombstone in 
the churchyard at Whitchurch to the memory of William 
Powell, a blacksmith and parish clerk during the time 
Handel was there. 

Handel must have frequently had occasion to traverse 
the nine miles of road between Canons and London, yet 
this short distance was infested with highwaymen, and it 
was not safe for anyone to go without a retinue. On 
two successive days in February 1 720 the Duke of Chandos 
was himself attacked by highwaymen, some of whom were 
killed and others captured by his servants. 

On August 8, 1718, Handel's sister, r) th f 

Dorothea Sophia, the wife of Michaelsen. TT , I 
j- j *. TT 11 TT ^i. i Jtianaels 

died at Halle. He thereupon wrote to his . 

brother-in-law : 

I pray you, of my wish to see you by my delay in starting : 
it is to my great regret that I find myself kept here by 
affairs which are unavoidable, and on which I may 
say my fortune depends, and which have dragged on 
longer than I expected. If you knew the pain that 
I feel in not having been able to do what I so fervently 
desire, you will forgive me. But I hope these affairs 
will be over in a month from now, and you may count 
upon my making no delay, and that I shall travel without 
stopping. I entreat you, my very dear brother, to assure 
Mama of this and of my obedience, and to let me know 
how you are, and how are Mama and your dear family, 
in order to lessen my anxiety and impatience. You can 
imagine, my very dear brother, how inconsolable I should 
be, had I not the hope of shortly making up for this 



delay by staying with you all the longer. I am astonished 
that the Magdeburg merchant has not yet executed my 
letter of exchange : I beg you to keep it, and it shall be 
set right on my arrival. I have received notice that the 
pewter will soon be sent to you. I am ashamed of the 
delay, and that I have not been able ere this to fulfil my 
promise : I beg you to excuse me, and to believe that in 
spite of all my efforts I have been unable to succeed. 
You will agree with me when I am able to explain it by 
word of mouth. You may have no doubt that I shall 
hasten my journey : I am longing to see you more than 
you can imagine. I thank you very humbly for your good 
wishes for the New Year. I for my part trust that the 
Almighty will give you and your dear family every kind of 
prosperity, and will soften by his precious blessings the 
trouble he has seen fit to bring upon you and me. You 
may rest assured that I shall always preserve the memory 
of the kindness you have shown to my late sister, and that 
these sentiments will continue as long as my life. Have 
the goodness to give my compliments to Mr Rotth, and 
all my good friends. I embrace you and all my dear 
family, and I am with lifelong affection, 

" Sir, your very honoured brother, 

" Your very humble and obedient servant, 
" To Mr Michael Dietrich Michaelsen, 

" Doctor of Law, Halle, Saxony." 

This letter was written in French, which was then the 
universal language of polite society. Handel, while in 
England, always spelled his second name in the way 
given here. 


Joint Stock Company 

The sermon preached at the funeral of Frau Michael- 
sen by Michael Heineccio was published by the university 
printer of Halle, and is extant, together with about a 
dozen poems upon her. Michaelsen seems to have done 
all he could for her. As she was in a consumption, he 
had bought a property near Halle, hoping that the country 
air might prolong her life, but she died before he was 
able to move to it. 

Handel had not only to compose, but in his capacity 
of chapel-master, had to train his chorus and teach his 
principal singers his own peculiar style of music. But 
this did not fill all the time or energies of one gifted with 
so extraordinary a power of work ; and he was soon called 
upon to act in another capacity. 

In 1719 the Government, being anxious to get rid of 
unredeemable annuities amounting to ^800,000 per 
annum, offered them for sale. The South . , 

Sea Company and the Bank of England A AA y M 
, / i j ^ f Academy of 

competed for their purchase, and the former M ' 

company bought at yj million pounds, with , , , 

the right of paying off the annuitants at * * 
8J years' purchase. Subscriptions were opened by the 
South Sea Company; the whole nation engaged in 
speculation ; dozens of bubble companies were started ; 
the South Sea Company took proceedings against them and 
thus alarmed its subscribers, who soon found that it was the 
biggest bubble company of them all. The well-known 
crash came, and thousands of families were ruined. 
Amongst the companies formed at this time was one for 
the promotion of Italian opera, by a committee of twenty 
noblemen, in 1719. Though it proved eventually to be a 
bubble, it was begun in all good faith. ^50,000 was 



privately subscribed, of which the King gave ^1000, and 
the enterprise took the name of the " Royal Academy of 
Music." The names of some of the original members are 
given by Hawkins and Burney. The first year the Duke 
of Newcastle was governor, and Lord Bingley, deputy- 
governor. The directors were the Dukes of Portland 
and Queensberry, Earls of Burlington, Stair, and Walde- 
grave ; Lords Chetwynd and Stanhope ; Generals Dormer, 
Wade, and Hunter; Sir John Vanbrugh, Colonel Blath- 
wayt, who had been when a child a pupil of Alessandro 
Scarlatti, and at the age of twelve had astonished everyone 
by his harpsichord playing ; Colonel O'Hara, Brigadier- 
General Hunter, Conyers D'Arcy, Bryan Fairfax, Thomas 
Coke or Cole, William Pulteney, George Harrison, and 
Francis Whitworth, Esquires. Heidegger was engaged as 
manager. This enterprise was not intended to be run 
merely as a speculation, but was an effort in the cause of 
the best musical art, which had hitherto failed for want of 
adequate support. 

It must be remembered that at this time there did not 
exist what we should call a musical public. The mass of 
the people were not sufficiently educated to appreciate 
anything of the nature of art; and the middle classes, 
the landowners, were deeply prejudiced against music, 
considering that it was a foreign luxury which, if tolerated, 
would inevitably lead to a decadence of the British race. 
This stupid view of art can still be found amongst a few 
so-called educated persons in England, who, living in the 
country and confining their energies to " sports," are quite 
ignorant of the forces atwork in the greatworld around them. 
Italian opera was in 1720 cultivated only by the more in- 
telligent and intellectual of the aristocracy. It became the 


Journey to Dresden 

" fashion " for the wealthy to have a box at the opera, 
and it was reserved for Handel, after years of incredible 
efforts, to establish, through his oratorios, a public in 
England which could be refined in manners and improved 
in morals by the highest productions of musical art. 

The Royal Academy of Music set to work in earnest. 
Bononcini was invited to take up his residence in 
England as composer, and a few years afterwards Attilio 
Ariosti was brought from Berlin 1 for this purpose. Two 
of Bononcini's operas, Camilla and Thomyris^ had recently 
been fitted with English words by Haym, and performed 
with fair success under the management of MacSwiney at 
the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn Fields, so that he was not 
unknown to English opera-going amateurs. rr j / - 
Handel was also engaged both as composer an e , ** 
and "impresario," for which purpose he sought Jj. p i 
and easily obtained leave of absence from . , ' 
the Duke of Chandos. He at once set out ' 
for Dresden, where the Elector of Saxony 
Augustus, then King of Poland, maintained an Italian 
company, and had operas performed in the most perfect 
and splendid manner possible. 

1 Hawkins says Bologna. 


Chapter VI 

Handel goes to Dresden to collect singers Visits his family The Royal 
Academy of Music begins work Radamisto Rivalries begin 
Muzio Scevola Floridante Swift's sarcasm Bononcini's admirers 
Cuzzoni Flavio Presentment by the Grand Jury against 
Ridottos Giulio Cesare Tamerlano The fashion of publishing 
Handel's operatic airs adapted to sacred words. 

ApplebeJs Weekly Journal of February 21, 1719, an- 
nounces that " Mr Hendel, a famous Master of Musick, is 
, , , gone beyond sea, by order of his majesty, to 
an e as co jj ect a com p an y o f the choicest singers in 
impresai Europe for the O p era in the Haymarket." 
He must therefore have started immediately after sending 
the letter quoted in the last chapter to his brother-in-law. 
He went to Dresden by way of Diisseldorf, where he 
engaged Benedetto Baldassarri, an eminent tenor singer. 
Where he went after this is not known; in the 
autumn he was again at Dresden, where he found a 
large company of the best Italian singers, who, with 
Lotti, were celebrating the wedding of the Elector with 
Maria Josepha. Here he after a time succeeded in 
engaging Signora Durastanti, who, according to Gerber, 
was specially excellent in male characters, and Senesino, 
an artificial soprano, whose real name was Francesco 
Bernardi. Applebee's Weekly Journal announces on 
December 31, 1719, that "Signor Senesino, the famous 
Italian eunuch has arrived, and 'tis said that the company 
allows him two thousand guineas for the season." Other 


Bach and Handel 

singers engaged by Handel from the Dresden Company 
were Berenstadt, a German born and trained in Italy ; 
and, according to Burney, Boschi 1 a bass, whom he had 
met at Naples ; Signora Salvai ; and an artificial soprano 
called Berselli. During this visit to Dresden he played 
on the harpsichord before the Elector Augustus, who 
presented him with a hundred ducats as a mark of 
his appreciation of his wonderful powers. The gift was 
made in February 1720, but Handel had probably 
played some time previously. 2 The well-known challenge 
of Bach to Marchand had taken place at Dresden in 
1717. Bach had been promised a reward, but it was 
purloined by a court official, and never reached him. 
The nature of these two great artists who had so much in 
common in their lofty view of the profession they were 
called upon to exercise, differed essentially in money 
matters. Bach was satisfied with a bare living wage, 
sufficient to maintain himself and his numerous family in 
decent comfort of the artizan standard. Handel earned 
and saved many thousands of pounds, which he devoted 
to the highest possible uses, the furtherance of the art 
of music, and the relief of the unfortunate. 

Handel took the opportunity of being in Germany to 
pay the promised visit to his beloved family ^ , 

at Halle. The exact time of his being there , 
is unknown, but in the autumn of 1719 tavours 
Bach journeyed from Cothen 3 to visit him 
there and found that he had that very 
day set out for England. 4 

Too much has been made of this and a later similar in- 

1 Gerber says that Boschi was engaged by Handel in 1727. 

2 Chrysander, ii. 18. 

8 " Bach," Spitta, vol. ii. p. 9 (English Ed.). 4 Forkel. 

F 8l 


cident. The biographers of Bach are apt to hint that Handel 
was not anxious to meet Bach, while those of Handel 
endeavour to explain that Bach might have taken more 
trouble to get to Halle ,in time, if he was really anxious to 
meet him. There were no telegraphs in those days, and 
journeys were slow and laborious. Bach was very eager 
to learn all that he could of his art, and admiring Handel 
greatly, took some trouble to meet him. Handel, an 
excessively busy man, was not living a quiet life of study, 
and was probably not disposed to give up perhaps a whole 
day to a possibly dull interview with a learned cantor, who 
knew nothing of the excitements of operatic life. There is 
no reason to find fault with either. Any busy professional 
man, to whom time is of the utmost importance, will 
sympathise with Handel, while the quiet earnest student, 
not over burdened with this world's goods or excitements, 
will have an equal sympathy with Bach. 
,, , Handel appears to have returned to 
. , ' England some time before November 1719, 
, . ' and the meetings of the directors of 
. , the new Academy began in that month. 

Besides composers and singers, the Royal 
Academy engaged an Italian poet, Antonio Rolli, to write 
words for the operas, and to act as " Italian Secretary to 
the Academy." The Academy proposed to give fifty repre- 
sentations during the season, which began on April 2nd, 
1720, at the Haymarket. The prices of tickets for 
subscribers were ten guineas on delivery of the ticket, 
and two further payments of five guineas each, but a 
reduction would be made in case less than fifty repre- 
sentations took place. A difficulty arose from the 
fact that a company of French comedians had been 



for a long time in possession of the Haymarket theatre, 
but was got over by an arrangement by which the French 
comedians were to have the house for half the week, 
and the Royal Academy the other half. 

The Academy was at once attacked by Steele, who 
started a newspaper in defence of English H st'l't' 
plays. On March ist, 1720, this paper, The commwe 
Theatre, announced, "Yesterday, South Sea 
179; Opera Company, 83 \. No transfer." On March 
8th, " At the rehearsal on Friday last, Signior Nihilini 
Benedetti (i.e. Benedetti Baldassari) rose half a note above 
his pitch formerly known. Opera Stock, from 83 \ when 
began; at 90 when he ended." Again, "This Signior 
announced in recitative style to the assembled opera 
directors, that he was not accustomed to play any part 
below that of a Sovereign or Prince of the blood ; and 
therefore it was allowed him that Tigranes, which was his 
part in Handel's Radamisto, should be raised from a simple 
ifficer to a prince." * 

Shares were sold at 100, each coupon entitling the 
holder to a seat for the time the company should last. 
The prices of the ordinary seats were los. and 55., but 
they were raised or lowered according to circumstances. 

The season opened with Numitor, composed by Gio- 
vanni Porta of Venice, which was performed , . . 
L j r n A M A i_ Kadamisto 

five times, and was followed on April 27th 

by Radamisto, written by Haym, the music composed by 
Handel specially for the Academy. Burney says, " The 
composition of this opera is more solid, ingenious, and 
full of fire than any drama which Handel had yet pro- 

Kuced in this country. The opera had been announced 
1 Quoted from Chrysander, vol. ii. p. 30. 


for April 26th, but was postponed in order to allow the 
French comedians playing, " by particular desire of several 
ladies of quality." Main waring tells us that " the applause 
it received was almost as extravagant as his Agrippina had 
excited ; the crowds and tumults of the house at Venice 
were hardly equal to those at London. In so splendid and 
fashionable an assembly of ladies (to the excellence of 
their taste we must impute it), scarce indeed any appear- 
ance of order or regularity, politeness or decency. Many 
who had forced their way into the house with a im- 
petuosity but ill-suited to their rank and sex, actually 
fainted through the heat and closeness of it. Several 
gentlemen were turned back who had offered forty 
shillings for a seat in the gallery, after having despaired 
of getting any seat in the pit or boxes." Although the 
Academy had made a rule of allowing none of the 
audience on the stage, it broke it, and advertised, " To 
be admitted on the stage, one guinea." The opera ran 
for ten nights, and was performed many times in sub- 
sequent seasons. Handel subscribes himself in the book 
of words, " His Majesty's most faithful subject," but he 
was not a subject of George until 1726, when he was 
naturalised by a private Act. Great pains were taken 
with the engraving and printing of this opera, which was 
published by the author and corrected by him. The 
printer was Richard Meares, at the Golden Viol, who 
says in his advertisement that "he presumes to assert 
that there hath not been in Europe a piece of music so 
well printed and upon so good paper." 

In 1721 forty-one pages of additional songs were pub- 
lished by Meares, and presented gratis to pui chasers of 
the opera. 



There was a general consensus of opinion that Radamisto 
was by far the finest opera that had yet appeared on the 
London, or perhaps any, stage. Handel himself told 
Hawkins that he considered the arias " Cara sposa " (in 
Rinaldo) and "Ombra cara " (in Radamisto) to be the 
best he had composed. The work consisted of the usual 
alternations of recitative and aria, with a long final chorus 
sung by all the soloists. The story, taken from Tacitus' 
Annals, is merely strung together for the sake of oppor- 
tunities for music ; and the dramatic effects are entirely 
dependent on the excellence of Handel's composition. 
Portions of it are adapted from the Latin motet Silete, 
venti, and the German Passion Music. 

The part of Radamisto^ originally written for soprano, 
was afterwards rewritten for contralto, and that of Tiri- 
dates, originally for a tenor, was transposed to bass for 

It was performed at Hamburg in 1722 under the 
name of Zenobia^ with a German translation, but 
the Italian arias were retained. A similar company 
to the Royal Academy was started at Hamburg on this 

Radamisto was succeeded by Domenico Scarlatti's 
Narciso, under the management of his pupil, Thomas 
Roseingrave, but it had no great success. 

In November 1720 Bononcini produced Astarto^ which 
was given thirty times, and the publication of his " Can- 
tate e Duetti " dedicated to the King in 1721, brought him 
in one thousand guineas. Astarto was shortly afterwards 
performed at Hamburg. Ariosti, who was known to 
Londoners by two operas performed in 1716, produced 
Giro in 1721. 


Rivalries soon began to appear. The aristocracy of 

Rivalries th Se days would seem to be never ha PP7 
unless they were fostering some kind of com- 
petition between musicians. We have seen that Handel 
had already competed as a performer with Scarlatti in 
Italy; it was now his fate to be the victim of a foolish 
and ignoble party warfare, which, beginning with what 
may have been a friendly competition, ended by ruining 

Bononcini's operas were undoubtedly for a time more 
favourably received than those of Handel, and the ad- 
mirers of each were rapidly dividing into two rival parties. 
Wuzio ** was P r P se d tnat tne y should try their 

"See ola strength in an opera, of which one act 
was to be composed by Bononcini and 
another by Handel. But since an opera was practically 
obliged to have three acts, the services of Filippo Mattei, 
a violoncellist in the orchestra, who went by the name of 
Pipo, were called upon. 

Rolli wrote a libretto, and on April 15, 1721, the 
opera called Muzio Scevola was produced. The first act 
was by Pipo, 1 the second by Bononcini, and the third by 
Handel. Each act had its own overture and chorus, and 
was, therefore, practically a complete short opera. 

The issue was doubtful ; the partisans of both Handel 

1 Burney, Mainwaring, and Hawkins say that Ariosti was the 
coadjutor of Handel and Bononcini in Muzio Scevola, and Rockstro 
accepts their statement. A manuscript in the Dragonetti collection 
at the British Museum, and a notice in Matheson's " Musikal. 
Patriot," point to Pipo ; and Chrysander considers him more likely 
to have been the composer, because Ariosti. was not in England at the 
time. The matter is not of great importance. 



and Bononcini claimed the victory, though Burney and 
Hawkins say that it undoubtedly lay with Handel. The 
performance fanned into a flame the spirit of dislike 
towards Handel which was rising among the aristocracy. 
Burney says that the employment of the three composers 
on the same work was not done by way of competition, 
but merely to save time ; and that it was a device often 
resorted to in Italy for this purpose. But whatever the 
cause, the result remained that the public took it as a 
contest. Both composers, however, continued to be 
employed by the Academy as long as it lasted. 

Besides the difficulties arising from the rival factions 
supporting Handel and Bononcini, there arose ,.,. 
financial troubles. Constant calls of five per ,.~ .. 
cent, on the subscribers are found in the *W*"? 
advertisement columns of the newspapers of 
the time. In November 1721 new directors were chosen, 
and a new financial scheme was arranged. 

It does not belong to our task here to follow the 
fortunes of the Royal Academy of Music to its untimely 
end, but only to refer to it in its relation to Handel. 
Besides operas, it occasionally gave concerts. At one 
which took place on July 5, 1721, for the benefit of 
Signora Durastanti, two new cantatas by Mr Handel and 
Signer Sandoni (at that time second cembalist at the 
opera) were announced, together with four songs and six 
duets by the famous Signor Steffani. 

The second season opened on November ist, 1721, 
and on December Qth, Floridante, a new ,-,, ., 
opera by Handel, words by Rolli, was 
brought out. Burney says that the overture was less 
pleasing to the public than others of Handel's, because 


the subject of the fugue admitted of no countersubject. 
One can hardly imagine a modern audience influenced 
for or against a work by the technicalities of a fugue ! 
Bononcini followed four weeks later with Crispo^ for 
which Rolli supplied the libretto. It was performed 
seventy-eight times. It was succeeded by his Gnselda. 
Political Meanwhile, party strife was raging, and the 
parties and Utter ^^ s ^ ness f ^ ^ s shown by the 
rival ^ act ^ at t ^ ie Whigs espoused the cause of 

composers Handel, anc * the Tories that of Bononcini ; x 
* * as if the merits of composers had any 

connection whatever with political parties. 

An epigram which was afterwards set as a " cheerful 
glee for four voices " appeared in the Spectator from the 
pen of John Byron, a Fellow of Trinity College, Cam- 

"Some say compared to Bononcini 
That Mynheer Handel's but a ninny ; 
Others aver, that to him, Handel 
Is scarcely fit to hold a candle ; 
Strange all this difference should be 
'Twixt Tweedledum and Tweedledee." 

These lines were afterwards attributed to Swift. On 
the other hand Henry Carey, one of Handel's party, 

"The envy and the wonder of mankind 
Must terminate, but never can thy lays ; 

a According to Hawkin's History, vol. v. p. 276. The New 
Musical Magazine, a contemporary publication, says: "By some 
strange analogy between music and politics, the Tories declared for 
Handel, and the Whigs for Bononcini." 



For when, absorbed in elemental flame, 

This world shall vanish, music will exist. 

Then their sweet strains, to native skies returning, 

Shall breathe in song of Seraphims and angels, 

Commix't and lost in Harmony eternal, 

That fills all Heaven ! " 

One of Bononcini's admirers wrote of Griselda 

' ' Cast from her kingdom, from her Lord exiled, 
Griselda still was lamb-like, mute and mild. 
But Rolli's verse provoked the Saint to roar, 
She raved, she maddened, and her pinners tore. 
Till Bononcini smoothed the rugged strains, 
And sanctified the miserable scenes. 
At each soft sound, again she felt her thought, 
And all the nonsense dy'd beneath the note. 
Appeas'd, she cried, it is enough, good Heaven 1 
Let Gaultier, and let Rolli be forgiven." 

There is no doubt that though Bononcini's arias are 
now antiquated, their simplicity was more able to appeal 
to the general public of their day than the far more 
vigorous music of Handel. Bononcini's cause was warmly 
espoused by the Marlborough family, and . . 
when the Duke died he was commissioned . l j 
to write an anthem for the funeral. It *f su PP a 
was published by Walsh, and is still y mer ai 
extant. In the same year (1722) he pub- J^ ion 

lished Divertimenti da Camera, tradotti pel cembalo da 
quelli composti pel Violino o Flauto^ consisting of arrange- 
ments of his cantatas for violin and harpsichord. This 
had a large sale among his admirers. 

The opera season lasted some seven to eight months in 


those days. That of 1721-2 closed on June 16, 1722, 
with a performance of Bononcini's Griselda. The chief 
singers engaged had been Senesino, Baldassarri, Boschi, 
Mrs Robinson and Salvai. 

In the following season, on the i2th of January 1723, 
~ a new singer, Francesca Cuzzoni, appeared in 

a new opera, Ottone, by Handel, words by 
Haym, who had succeeded Rolli as secretary and poet. 

Burney considers this to be the best of Handel's operas. 
A duet " A' teneri affetti " is written in what was at that 
time called the " Lombardic style," introduced by Vivaldi 
the violinist, consisting of continual syncopation. This 
style was used with good effect by Bach in the cantata 
" Freue dich, erloste Schaar." Of the song " Affanni 
del pensier," with its original scoring, Main waring relates 
that " an eminent master " (probably Pepusch), who was 
not on good terms with Handel, said, " That great bear 
was certainly inspired when he wrote that song." The 
gavotte in the overture became at once popular, and was 
played on every instrument from the organ to the 
salt-box of itinerant musicians. 

Great difficulties had been experienced in getting Cuzzoni. 
~ . She was certainly a finer singer than had yet 
appeared in London, but she had an un- 
certain temper, and was withal very ugly. Heidegger had 
engaged her at ^2000 for the season, had paid her 250, 
and she had promised to come in good time to rehearse 
Handel's new opera. But she delayed coming, and made 
everyone anxious. Heidegger sent Sandoni to fetch her, 
and on the journey she suddenly married him She 
finally arrived in London in the last week of December, 
1722, a fortnight before the production of Ottone. The 



directors were able to charge four guineas for each seat 
when she performed. 1 

Handel had considerable trouble with Cuzzoni. She had 
as stubborn a temper as he had ; and in those days a com- 
poser was looked upon merely as the person who supplied 
a frame-work for the singer to elaborate at his or her own 
sweet will. Handel, however, rebelled against this traditional 
usage, and insisted on having his music sung exactly as he 
had written it. During a rehearsal of Ottone, she refused 
to sing " Falsa immagine," whereupon Handel seized her 
in his arms, saying, " Madam, I know you are a very she- 
devil ; but I will have you know that I am Beelzebub, the 
prince of the devils," and made as though he would throwher 
out of the window. This action frightened her into com- 
pliance, and she sang the song exactly as it was written, with 
the result that she made one of her greatest successes in it. 

For her benefit on March 26th she chose Ottone. 
Handel, to make up for his previous treatment of her, 
added three new songs and an entire new scene for her. 
The rush to hear her on this occasion was so great that fifty 
guineas were paid for some of the seats. On February 
1 9th, 1723, a new opera by Ariosti, Coriolan, words by 
Haym, was produced with great success. A prison scene 
caused the ladies in the audience to weep. On March 
30, Bononcini produced a new opera, Erminia, and on 
May 14 Handel produced Flavio, which had eight re- 
presentations, the last of which closed the . 
season on June 15. The composition was 
finished on May 7, allowing just a week for rehearsals. 

i According to Malcolm, " Manners and Customs in London during 
the Eighteenth Century" ; Rockstro, " Life of Handel," p. 139, says 
five guineas. 



In July the opera company of the Royal Academy of 
Music paid a visit to Paris on the invitation of the Duke 
of Orleans, and stayed there four months, under the 
conductorship of Bononcini. Society was entirely taken 
up with the merits of Italian music, and the claims of the 
rival composers. Gay complains that conversation was 
given over to the discussion of fiddles, violoncellos, oboes, 
and never touched on poetical instruments such as harps, 
lyres and flutes; people who could not distinguish one 
tune from another disputed daily about the various styles 
of Handel, Bononcini and Ariosti, while Senesino was 
the greatest man that lived. Fielding, an admirer of 
Handel, writes in " Tom Jones " : " It was Mr Western's 
custom every afternoon as soon as he was drunk, to hear 
his daughter play on the harpsichord, for he was a great 
lover of music, and perhaps, had he lived in town, might 
have passed for a connoisseur, for he always excepted 
against the finest compositions of Mr Handel." 

Opera was, as a rule, performed only two nights a 
Th R I wee ^ on otner m g nts various entertain- 
A e , ya ments took place. Heidegger advertised 
Acaatmy R i dottoS) or mas ked balls, preceded by 
****** JL j a concert given by the opera singers. These 
g as ,j e masked balls led to all kinds of improprieties, 

so that the Grand Jury of Middlesex took 
alarm. We learn from Malcolm (" Manners and Cus- 
toms") that the following presentment was made on 
February 12, 1723. "Whereas there has been lately 
published a proposal for six ridottos, or balls, to be 
managed by subscription, at the King's Theatre in Hay- 
market, we, the Grand Jury of the County of Middlesex, 
sworn to inquire for our sovereign Lord the King, and 


Guilio Cesare 

the body of this county, conceiving the same to be 
wicked and illegal practices, and which, if not timely 
suppressed, may promote debauchery, lewdness, and ill 
conversation ; from a just abhorrence, therefore, of such 
sort of assemblies, which we apprehend are contrary to 
law and good manners, and give great offence to His 
Majesty's good and virtuous subjects, we do present the 
same, and recommend them to be prosecuted and sup- 
pressed as common nuisances to the public, as nurseries 
of lewdness, extravagance, and immorality, and also a 
reproach and scandal to civil government." 1 In conse- 
quence of this presentment the three last ridottos were 
given up, but they were renewed during the following 
season under the name of " Balls." 

In the next season Handel produced Guilio Cesare, 
with libretto by Haym, on February 20, r 'J' 

1724. Senesino made a great impression ~ 

by his rendering of an accompanied recitative, 
" Alma de'l gran Pompeo," and in a song, " Da Tempesta." 
During a subsequent performance a piece of machinery 
fell upon the stage just as Senesino had sung " Cesare non 
seppe mai, che sia timore" ("Caesar knows not what fear 
is "), and the poor hero was so frightened that he trembled, 
lost his voice, and began to cry. 

This opera was published by Cluer and B. Creake 
in good style. 

Bononcini and Ariosti were not idle. The former produced 
Farnace and Calfurnia, and the latter Vespasi- j? ij f 

ano, which, however, caused so much dissen- ^ ~ 
sion that opera stock was expected to fall ; a * 
call of 5 per cent, was immediately made on the shareholders, 
^chcelcher, "Life of Handel," p. 85. 


The last opera of the season was a pasticcio, called 
Aquilio, arranged by Ariosti. 

On October 31, 1724, Handel produced Tamer lano?- 
remarkable for the dramatic power exhibited in its closing 

^ , scene, where the tyrant, Bajazet, who has taken 
lamerlano . . , , , /. j , . . 

poison, is tended by his daughter, with such 

devoted affection, that even Tamerlane is moved to pity. 
The tragic force of this powerful situation is irresistible. 
Its chief strength lies in the skill with which the composer 
leads up to the touching climax ; and so artistically is this 
accomplished, that it would be difficult to find a similar 
catastrophe more effectively treated in any period of the 
history of art." 2 It was published in score with English 
and Italian words. 

In Rodelinda, which was produced on February 13, 

r> 7 7 . , 1725, Cuzzoni made such a sensation that 
Koaelinda . _ -n , , . , , . , 

the brown silk dress, embroidered with 

silver, which she wore, became the fashionable costume 
for the rest of the season. Another and far more 
objectionable fashion now arose of publishing the music 
, of Handel's operatic songs with sacred words 

acr * tacked on. The aria in Rodehnda, "Dove 

W j r * , j f sei amato bene," " Where art thou my well be- 

BTJ /> loved," was turned by Preston into " Hope, 

J^andel s P , . . , 

n . thou source of every blessing " ; by Arnold, 

Sons int " Holv ' hol y' Lord God Almighty" (the 

word " holy " being only uttered twice instead 
of three times). The fashion thus started soon took root. 
" Rendi'l sereno al ciglio," " Smooth thy troubled brow," in 
Sosarme, became " Lord remember David " ; " Non vi 

i London Magazine February 1733. 

8 " Life of Handel " (Rockstro), p. 140. 



piacque," " It did not please you," in Siroe, became " He 
was eyes to the blind " ; " Nel riposo," " In the repose," 
" He was brought as a lamb " ; and so on. " The mania for 
putting everything into their prayers, has betrayed the 
English into some most unworthy actions," says Schcelcher. 
Fortunately, however, this mania has now died out, and 
when an operatic piece has to be sung in English, a more or 
less respectable translation is made use of in the present day. 
But the religious mania was not the only thing from 
which Handel's music suffered, for low comedy and bac- 
chanalian songs laid it under contribution.. , 
The famous gavotte in the overture to Ot- ,. ~ 

tone became a bacchanal, " Bacchus, god a ta 

of mortal pleasures, by Mr Handel." 
Words beginning "O my pretty Punch- 

inello," were adapted to a song in Rod- . , 

,. ,' . L Operatic 

elinda ; " Ben spesso in vago prato, f <-, 

"Oft in fair meadow," "the music by Mr " ngs 

Handel " ; and the march in Rinaldo was introduced 
in the "Beggars' Opera." 

The whole of Rodelinda was published by Cluer in 
score, and also for the flute, soon after its appear- 
ance. It had few subscribers. Chrysander explains 
this by the fact that when Bononcini and Ariosti pub- 
lished operas, they solicited subscriptions from house to 
house, a course to which Handel would never stoop . 

During the time that Handel was busy as composer and 
manager of opera, others were performing his H d t 
music elsewhere for their own profit, for there 
was no legal property in those days in literary ., r , 

or musical work. Walsh was busy pillaging and * 
publishing the songs in Acts and Galatea, and the work 



itself was being constantly performed by different persons. 
Thus in 1731 and 1732 Rich was performing it at his 
theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and a new English theatre 
company in the Haymarket was doing the same, with 
" scenery, machines, and other decorations." Handel's 
former cook, Waltz, who turned into an excellent bass 
singer and viol di gamba player, took the part of Poly- 
phemus, while the Arnes, father, son and daughter, 
managed it. Poor Handel had no legal power to prevent 
these piracies ; his only resource was to advertise a more 
complete performance of the work, with additions, and 
with Italian songs. He was obliged to take any course 
that might attract an audience, or he would not have 
intermingled Italian with English in a purely English 
work. " He was fighting for bare existence against a band 
of sharpers, whose only care was, how to fill their pockets 
most easily at his expense. The event proved that, in 
matters of worldly policy, he was considerably more than 
a match for his unscrupulous antagonists." l 

* " Life of Handel " (Rockstro), p. 175. 


Engraving published by Walsh for subscribers to Alexander's Feast. 
See p. 141. 

Chapter VII 

Handel becomes a householder Plays at St Paul's before the Royal Prin- 
cesses Letter to Michaelsen Handel becomes a British subject 
Scipio Alessandro Faustina and Cuzzoni Senesino has an acci- 
dent Rival parties Admeto An opera stopped by hisses and cat- 
calls Senesino retires Bononcini again engaged to write an opera 
Death of George I., and accession of George II. Handel's salary 
is continued by the new king Coronation anthems Riccardo 
Siroe Tolomeo Beggar's Opera. 

IN 1724 the Royal Academy found that they could do 
without Bononcini, and therefore did not re-engage him. 
To make up for this, the Duchess of Marlborough settled 
on him a pension of ^500 a year in order to keep him in 
England. He lived for some years longer in her house 
until he was forced to leave England, as will appear later. 
About this time, Handel became the tenant or owner of 
No. 5 7 Brook Street, Hanover Square, now No. H nd I 
25, of which the rateable value was ^35, and , 

here he lived to the end of his life. It was . * a 
A LI i ^ f o re householder 

a very suitable location for a composer. Suffi- 
ciently removed from the noises of the town, and yet 

G 97 


within easy reach of the three theatres, and of his friend 
the Earl of Burlington ; and close to his parish church of 
St George, Hanover Square, at which he was a regular 
attendant. He was a strict Lutheran, and he would often 
say that it was one of the great felicities of his life that he 
was settled in a country where no man suffers any molesta- 
tion or inconvenience on account of his religious principles. 
The various Acts of Parliament directed against Romanists 
and Nonconformists were in reality not inspired by a spirit 
of intolerance against differences of religious opinion, but 
by political exigencies ; and a foreigner who did not meddle 
with politics, was in no way troubled by them. 

Handel's time was now regularly divided between com- 
ff' J'f t P osm tne operas, superintending their re- 
i~ hearsals, and conducting private concerts for 
the Duke of Rutland, the Earl of Burlington 
and other members of the nobility ; and he had besides 
to direct concerts for the Royal family at the Queen's 
Library in Green Park, in which aristocratic amateurs 
took part. His regular and economical life enabled him 
to lay by considerable sums, till in 1727 his savings 
amounted to ^10,000. His one recreation was visiting 
picture galleries, a taste he had acquired in Italy. 

The organ at St Paul's had been enlarged in 1720, and 
A . - f was considered by its admirers to be then 

Performance ne f the beSt in Eur P e ' We have k on 
perform* e recor( j t j iat on August 24, 1724, the Prin- 

cesses Anne and Caroline went to St Paul's 

Cathedra1 ' and heard the famous Mr Hand el, 
their music-master, perform upon the organ. 

Ariosti was not re-engaged in 1725 so that Handel 
was now the only composer to the Academy. 

A Letter 

The king went to Hanover in the summer of 1725, 
and Handel hoped to have an opportunity of visiting his 
mother, who was now advanced in age. But his engage- 
ments were so pressing that he could not leave London. 
He therefore wrote to his brother-in-law as follows : l 

"LONDON, the ^June 1725. 

myself very much in your debt through not ~ 

having for a long time fulfilled my duty ,^. 7 7 

y Michaelsen 

towards you in the matter of letters : never- 
theless I do not despair of obtaining your generous 
pardon, when I assure you that it is not the result of 
forgetfulness, and that my esteem and friendship for you are 
inviolable, as you will have found, my very much honoured 
brother, by the remarks which are contained in my letters 
to my mother. My silence has rather been from a fear 
of troubling you with a correspondence which might 
weary you. But what has made me overcome these 
reflections, in inconveniencing you by the present letter, 
is that I would not be so ungrateful as to pass over 
in silence the kindness that you have shown towards 
my mother, by your assistance and consolation in her 
advanced age, without at least giving you some sign 
of my very humble thanks. You will not be unaware of 
how much everything regarding her affects me, and you 
will therefore be able to judge under what obligations I 
am to you. I shall esteem myself happy, my very dear 
brother, if I can persuade you to give me from time 
to time some news of yourself, and you may be assured of 
the sincere interest I shall feel, and of the faithful reply 
1 The letter, which is in French, is in the possession of Dr Senff. 



you will always obtain from me. I had hoped to be able 
to renew my intercourse with you by word of mouth, and 
to make a journey to your neighbourhood when the king 
goes to Hanover ; but my endeavours have not been 
successful this time, and the position of my affairs deprives 
me of this happiness, though I still hope to have so great 
a pleasure some day. Meanwhile, it will be a very great 
consolation to me if I dare flatter myself that you will 
accord me some place in your memory, and honour 
me with your friendship, since I shall never cease being, 
with unalterable love and attachment, 
" Sir, 

" Your very honoured Brother, 
" Your very humble and 
" obedient Servant, 

"I make my very humble respects to your wife, 1 and I 
tenderly embrace my dear god-child and the rest of your dear 
family ; my compliments, if you please, to all my friends." 

On February 13, 1726, Handel took the oath of 
TT j I allegiance in the House of Lords as a natur- 
alised British subject, and was nominated 
232 a " Composer to the Court," and on March 1 2 
9 ^h ^ t produced Scipione, the composition of which 

was finished on March 2nd. The words 
~ . . were by Rolli. 

ct * w It opens with the well-known march in D. 

The Grenadier Guards claim that this march, which they 

still play, was specially composed for them by Handel 

before its introduction into the opera. 2 It was introduced 

1 /.*. his second wife. 2 " Life of Handel," Rockstro, p. 143. 



into the Beggar J Opera as a duet, " Brave Boys prepare." 
The singers in Scipio were Cuzzoni, Constantini, Senesino, 
Baldi, Antinori and Boschi. 

Not two months after, namely, on May 5th, yet another 
new opera was produced, Alessandro^ which ran .. , 
continuously till June yth, on which day the 
season closed. The composition was finished on April 1 1, 
so that nearly a month, an unusual length of time, was 
allowed for rehearsals. This opera is important as being 
the first in which the famous Faustina, the wife of Hasse, 

appeared. She had long been expected. .. 
rr r . . , j i -, f Faustina 

Negotiations had been carried on for years 

with her. Her reputation was enormous ; and she was 
quite clever enough to see that by delaying her appearance 
she would not only increase the eagerness of the pub- 
lic, but would be offered higher terms. She was finally 
engaged at ,2,500 for the season. She was as good- 
looking as Cuzzoni was ill-favoured; she had wonderful 
command of vocal dexterity, and a knack of imper- 
ceptibly taking breath, so that she could apparently hold 
out a note for any length 'of time. Handel had the 
difficult task of writing for both Faustina and Cuzzon r 
in such a manner as to favour neither at TT j I 
the expense of the other. He caused them ~ 
both to appear at once in a recitative for two " 
voices, in which Roxana and Lisaura, the . , . 

two mistresses of Alexander, expressed their *' 
love and their jealousy. He managed that 
the arias for each should be so suitable to 
their respective excellencies that they each obtained equal 
applause ; while in a duet each voice had alternately the 
principal part. His treatment was naturally not appreci- 



ated by the fops, who were anxious to see Cuzzoni sung 
down, but the result proved so attractive that the opera 
was given three times a week instead of only twice, which 
was the normal number of weekly performances. One 
of the secrets of Handel's success as a composer, was 
his power of adapting his music to the peculiar excellencies 
of each individual performer. In the case of Faustina he 
had to do this by means of reports, for he had not heard 
her ; but his success was as great as with those singers 
with whom he was well acquainted. 

Senesino had another slight accident in this opera, 
which caused much laughter. In his prowess in leading 
his soldiers to the assault of Ossidraca he so far forgot 
himself in the heat of the combat as to stick his sword 
through one of the pasteboard stones of the town wall, 
and bear it in triumph before him as he entered the 
breach. 1 

Another contest was now on hand; not this time 
between rival composers, but the two singers Cuzzoni and 
Faustina, in spite of Handel's efforts to prevent it. 

By one account they were of the same age, having 
~ . been born in 1700, though another account 
' , says that Faustina was seven years older than 

a * . Cuzzoni. The compass of their voices seems 

to have been about the same, and all accounts 
agree as to the perfection of their singing. In those days, 
besides beauty of voice and expression, great technical 
skill was demanded of singers, especially in the perform- 
ance of the " divisions " and trills so familiar in Handel's 
songs. Moreover, singers were expected to add their 
own grace notes and other ornaments to the melody 
1 World, February 8, 1753. 


written for them by the composer. Thus, Burney tells us 
of Cuzzoni that "a native warble enabled her to execute 
divisions with such facility as to conceal every appearance 
of difficulty " ; "in a cantabile air, though the notes she 
added were few, she never lost an opportunity of enrich- 
ing the cantilena with all the refinements and embellish- 
ments of the time. Her shake was perfect." Of Faustina 
Burney says : " She in a manner invented a new kind of 
singing, by running divisions with a neatness and velocity 
which entranced all who heard her. She had the art of 
sustaining a note longer, in the opinion of the public, 
than any other singer, by taking her breath imperceptibly. 
Her beats and trills were strong and rapid ; her intonation 

Here then was plenty of opportunity for jealousy and 
petty rivalry, and the fashionable public encouraged it 
to the utmost. Not so Handel. His wish was to get 
the best singers together in order to obtain the most 
artistic performance possible. In Alessandro he gave 
each the same number of songs ; each sang a duet with 
Senesino, and in a duet for the two ladies the composer 
so arranged the parts that each had the upper notes in 
turn, so that there could be no question of first and second 
singer. That he could make a respectable drama under 
these conditions would appear to be impossible ; if he 
was able to do so, he gave another and striking proof 
of his genius. 

But tne supporters of opera did not demand dramatic 
proprieties. All they wanted was an opportunity of 
hearing the singers, and pitting them against one another. 
Handel's efforts failed to keep the peace ; and the history 
of the Italian opera of those days shows a succession of 



miserable quarrels between rival composers, rival singers, 
and rival parties. 

A story is told to the effect that Cuzzoni had been 

made by her partisans to swear on the Gospels that she 

would never accept a less sum than Faustina, and that 

the directors, wishing to get rid of her, offered her 

^2000, and Faustina ^2001, whereupon she left the 

kingdom ; and another ridiculous report was circulated to 

the effect that she was under sentence of death by behead- 

. . ing, for murdering her husband. But there 

is no truth in these stories, for both ladies 

continued to sing together under Handel's 

*T? a e , tuition for a long time. The rival parties 

S hissed their opponents' prokgt \ epigrams 

appeared in the papers, of which the following is an 

example : 

" Old poets sing that beasts did dance 
Whenever Orpheus played ; 
So to Faustina's charming voice 
Wise Pembroke's asses brayed." 

A reply is found in an epigram on the miracles 
wrought by Cuzzoni : 

" Boast not how Orpheus charmed the rocks ; 
And set a-dancing stones and stocks, 
And tygers' rage appeased ; 
All this Cuzzoni has surpassed ; 
Sir Wilfred seems to have a taste, 
And Smith and Gage 1 are pleased." 

1 Sir Wilfred Lawson, Simon Smith, and Sir William Gage were 
members of the Royal Academy. 



On January 3ist, 1727, Admeto was produced, and had 
a run of nineteen nights ; the libretto is . , 

founded on the "Alcestis" of Euripides. 
The performers were Senesino, in the part of Admetus, 
Boschi as Hercules, Faustina as Alcestis, and Cuzzoni as 
the heroine of a counterplot. While Cuzzoni was 
singing, a voice from the gallery was heard saying, 
" Damn her, she has a nest of nightingales in her bosom," 
and in a copy of the libretto, belonging to Lady Cowper, 
a note is found against the name of Faustina. " She is 
the devil of a singer." The music of Admeto was 
published by Cluer, and stolen " with his usual mastery " 
by Walsh. 1 ' 

A performance on May 6th of Astyanax, by Bononcini 
was stopped by hisses, yells, and catcalls from the 
leaders of the best society in London, the voices of the 
two singers being drowned by the hubbub. 2 

A satire on the luxury and effeminacy of the age has 
the following passages : 

"Cuzzoni can no longer charm, 
Faustina now does all alarm ; 
And we must buy her pipe so clear 
With hundreds, twenty-five a year. 

And if a brace of powder'd coxcombs meet 

They kiss and slabber in the open street : 

They talk not of our Army or our Fleet, 

But of the warble of Cuzzoni sweet, 

Of the delicious pipe of Senesino 

And of the squalling trill of Harlequino ; 

1 Chrysander. 
a Rockstro, p. 152. 


With better voice, and fifty times her skill, 
Poor Robinson is always treated ill : 
But, such is the good nature of the town 
"Tis now the mode to cry the English down. 

They care not, whether credit rise or fall, 
The opera with them is all in all. 
They'll talk of tickets rising to a guinea, 
Of pensions, duchesses, and Bononcini ; 
Of a new eunuch in Bernardi's place, 
And of Cuzzoni's conquest or disgrace." 

Handel's friend Arbuthnot wrote a pamphlet "The 
devil to pay at St James's; or a full and true account 
of a most horrid and bloody battle between Madam 
Faustina and Madam Cuzzoni, also, of a hot skirmish 
between Signor Boschi and Signor Palmerini. Moreover, 
how Senesino has taken snuff, is going to leave the opera, 
and sing Psalms at Henley's Oratory." 

The engagement of the two ladies led to a new and 
unforeseen trouble. The funds of the Royal Academy 
were rapidly becoming exhausted by the enormous sums 
paid to singers, calls were constantly made on the sub- 
scribers, and it was necessary to offer every possible 

. attraction to the public, when Senesino, the 

benestna ~ ., . r . \ ~ ,. . ^ , . ' 

, spoilt idol of society, finding that his perform- 

ance was slightly less attractive than that of 
the two ladies, suddenly announced that he 
was ill, and must retire to the Continent. Once having 
got away he made the greatest difficulties about returning 
in the following season, since he had now learned that 
the Academy were easily to be squeezed by any Italian 
singer whom they thought they could not do without. 


Death of George I. 

He did not return till after Christmas and the opera 
could not therefore open for the following season till 
then. Its place was supplied by an Italian comedy 
company which was patronised by the King. 

In 1726 an English version of Camilla by Bononcini's 
brother was tried by Rich (at which theatre is . , 

unknown) with English singers, but apparently n * 

without any great success. The audience '' e * n *, 
would only listen to Italian singers : not for v, r. , 
the sake of music, but because being idle and J? 

extremely frivolous, it merely wanted some- " 

thing to get up rivalries about. People went to the opera 
much as they went to a prize-fight, a bear-garden, or a 
cock-pit, in order to see human beings or animals or birds 
trying to get the better of one another. 

The Royal Academy was sinking more and more into 
pecuniary difficulties. After the performance . . 
of Admeto, it called Bononcini and Ariosti ^^^ 
again to its assistance, commissioning them ,. , 

each to write an opera. Bononcini produced 
Astyanax with the result we have already seen : and Ariosti 
produced nothing. * 

* In the summer of 1727 George I. set out for Hanover 
with one of his mistresses. His wife had n th f 
recently died, after being for thirty-two years ^ ea j. 
imprisoned in a castle on suspicion of adultery 
with a Swedish count. In her last illness she sent a letter 
to the King complaining of his ill-usage, and summoning 
him to meet her within a year and a day before the 
tribunal of God, to answer for his conduct. This so 
alarmed the King that he fell into a convulsion and died 
before reaching Hanover. 



On the accession of George II. in June 1727, Handel 
G II was securec * f an income of ;6oc a year 

eorge . ^ ^ made up of two pensions of ^200 
confirms , . , . \_ ~ , , 

H d r e 8 lven mm by Queen Anne, and a salary 

an e s ^ ^ SSime amount as music-master to the 

young princesses. He was also given the 

honorary titles of Composer to the Court and Composer 

to the Chapel Royal, for which he had no regular 

salary. 1 

The Coronation took place at Westminster Abbey, on 
~ .. October 11, on which occasion Handel's four 

Coronation anthems, beginning with the well- 

Anthems , ~ , , J7 n '. _ r , . tl _ 

known Z>adok the Priest, were performed with 

a large orchestra. 

Unlike the operas, in which practically no chorus 
appeared, these anthems, like the " Te Deums," consisted 
mostly of massive writing of seven, six, and five vocal 
parts. The singers were all English, being members of 
the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey choirs. Twelve 
boys and thirty-five men were employed, the solos being 
sung by Francis Hughes, John Freeman, John Church, 
Samuel Wheely, and Bernhard Gates. The instrumental 
part was played by the opera orchestra, and a new organ 
was built for the occasion by Schroder. This instrument, 

1 Handel, being now by naturalization a British subject, was able 
to hold these posts, for which fees seem to have been paid him on 
special occasions. His predecessor was Dr Croft, who as Court 
Composer, Organist, Master of the Chapel Royal, Teacher of the 
Royal Children, &c., received altogether ^522 a year. Croft was 
succeeded as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal by Bernhard 
Gates, as Organist by Mr Robinson, and as Composer (for two were 
employed) by Dr Greene. 


Coronation Music 

which was a very fine one, was afterwards given to the 
Abbey by the King. A double bassoon was ~, ~ , . 
used for the first time on this occasion. It ' *p 

had been designed and made by Stanesby. a . . , 

, J> f introduced 
flute maker, under the superintendence of 

Handel himself. It is called in Handel's scores Basson- 
grosso. Schcelcher, misunderstanding the expression 
familiar to organists, "16 feet tone," is puzzled by 
imagining a bassoon 16 feet high. The instrument was, 
of course, about 16 feet long, but bent on itself to a 
convenient length, in the way familiar to all concert- 

The actual placing of the crown on the head of the new 
king was accompanied by "instrumental music of every 
sort" (/.*., the full orchestra); and at the conclusion of 
the ceremony was sung the fourth anthem, "My heart 
is inditing of a good matter." It is stated that the Bishop 
of London had selected and sent a list of texts to Handel 
for these anthems, and that Handel, taking offence at this, 
wrote to the Bishop, saying, " I have read my Bible well, 
and will choose for myself." 

On October 30 a Court ball took place, for which 
Handel, as composer to the Court, provided a series of 
minuets, which were immediately published by Walsh. 

The Royal Academy was now moribund. Subscribers, 
attracted by other pleasures, or disgusted Th R 1 
with the riotous scenes which frequently . ?* 
took, place, had fallen off in large numbers, f M 
and no one came forward in their place. * , 
The ^50,000 was exhausted, and Opera g "L 
shares were unsaleable. Handel worked 
desperately to save the Academy from ruin. Thinking 



that a story taken from English history would attract 

Riccardo the En & lisn P e P le > ne produced Riccardo 

Primo Primo, Re d* Inghilterra on November n, 

1727, text by Rolli, 1 in which again the 

parts for Cuzzoni and Faustina were equally matched. 

But the disturbances experienced in the opera whenever 

these two performers appeared were beginning to have 

their natural result, and respectable people stayed away. 

Handel now made further efforts to save the Academy 

TT , ,, from ruin. He produced Siroe, libretto by 
Jianael s TT f ^ ,, f J 

efforts to Ha y m > after Metastasio, on February 1 7, 
sa e the J 7 2 ^' wmcn was performed nineteen times, 
* Academy and Tolomeo (words by Haym), on April 
from ruin 3 ' in which he ODtained a novel effect of 
echo, by making Senesino repeat Cuzzoni's 
phrases behind the scenes. The opera ran 
for seven nights only. All his efforts were 
unavailing. In addition to its internal squabbles, the 
Royal Academy was now being actively attacked from 

In 1727 a work by Gay, called the Beggar's Opera, 

, consisting of songs coupled together by 

*** dialogue, had been produced at the Theatre 

in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The music was 

arranged by Dr Pepusch, the director being Rich. 

It was low, vulgar, and indecent, and therefore proved 

irresistible to the fashionable society of the day. It had 

a run of sixty-three nights, and went a long way towards 

ruining the Academy, already impoverished by its singers 

and the quarrels of rival partisans. The libretto treats of 

1 Rolli dedicated the libretto to the King, and was rewarded with 
the title of Court Poet. 


Beggar s Opera 

thieves, murderers, receivers of stolen goods, highwaymen, 
and other equally reputable characters ; and appears to be 
a skit on the manners and customs of the aristocratic 
society of the time. Pepusch composed an overture in the 
usual form of a slow movement followed by a fugue ; and 
the march in Rinaldo is sung as a robbers' chorus. A 
prologue is spoken by a beggar and a player, in which a 
discussion takes place as to what will best please the 
audience ; and in an epilogue, spoken by the same char- 
acters, the conclusion is come to that the play must end 
happily since this is expected of every opera. The thing 
continued for more than a century to please the public, if 
one may judge from the number of editions that ap- 
peared. No less than twenty editions and arrangements 
are in the British Museum, ranging from 1728 to 1892. 

This glorification of crime is said by Hawkins to have 
fulfilled the prognostications of many that it M J 

would prove injurious to society. " Rapine 
and violence have been gradually increasing 


UU V I^H-IH-^ lidVV* L^,^H gJ.a.VJ.UO.llJ' lllV^l V^CtOlUg f. 7 

ever since its first representation ; the rights J 
of property, and the obligation of the law e &j? 

that guards it, are disputed on principle; * e * 

young men, apprentices, clerks in public offices, and 
others, disdaining the arts of honest industry, and cap- 
tured with the charms of idleness and criminal pleasure, 
now betake themselves to the road, affect politeness in 
the very act of robbery ; and in the end become victims 
to the justice of their country ; and men of discernment, 
who have been at the pains of tracing this great evil to 
its source, have found that not a few of those who, during 
these last fifty years, have paid to the law the forfeit of 
their lives, have, in the course of their pursuits been 



emulous to imitate the manners and general character of 
Macbeath " (the hero of the Beggars Opera). 

It was followed by a number of imitations, called the 
Village Opera, Lover's Opera, Harlequin Opera, Quaker's 
Opera, etc. 


Chapter VIII 

Bononcini attacks Handel Collapse of the Royal Academy of Music 
Handel goes into partnership with Heidegger Goes to Italy to find 
fresh singers Lotario, Partenope, Poro, Orlando Gates performs 
Esther Handel protects himself by performing Esther Arne per- 
forms Acts Handel is forced to protect himself from Arne 
Senesino deserts him for the rival opera, under Bononcini Handel 
takes to oratorio Deborah Attack by Rolli Another by Goupy. 

BONONCINI now published a pamphlet in Italian and 
English called "Advice to Composers and Performers 
of Italian music," which he issued gratis to anyone 
asking for it. It was an attack on Handel's method, 

which, he said, consisted of overloading the . . 

. , . ... . , Bononcini 

songs with instrumental accompaniment, and , 

T . . attacks 

thereby ruining the voices. It was immediately TT , , 

, , f . j r TT j i T> i_ fiandel 
answered by a friend of Handel in Remarks 

on a pamphlet lately imported from Modena J called Advice 
to Composers and Performers of Vocal Musick." The 
matter does not appear to have disturbed Handel very much. 
The last performance given by the Academy was that 
of Admeto on June ist, 1728; it was to p d 

have been repeated on June nth, but /- , 

Faustina was taken ill. The whole company , 

of singers now dispersed, and by next year 

were engaged at two of the theatres in 
Venice. On June 5th the general court of 
the Royal Academy met, " in order to consider of proper 

1 Bononcini was born at Modena. 
H 113 


measures for recovering the debts due to the Academy, 
and discharging what is due to performers, tradesmen, and 
others; and also to determine how the scenes, cloaths, &c., 
are to be disposed of, if the opera cannot be continued. 
N.B. All the subscribers are desired to be present, since 
the whole will be then decided by a majority of votes." 

This was the end. Abortive efforts were made to 
appoint a new body of directors in November, and to 
meet in January; after this nothing more is heard of 
the Royal Academy of Music. It had given 245 per- 
formances of operas by Handel, 108 of operas by 
Bononcini, 55 by Ariosti, and 79 by other composers. 

But though the Royal Academy had ceased to exist, 
IT j j Handel did not give up hope. Heidegger 

into WSS DOW the lessee of the Ha Y market Theatre, 
an d Handel immediately went into partner- 

S *"P W ^ k* m ' r * s ki n S tne ji 0,000 he had 
saved by the hard work and economy of the 
^^ twentv y ears Heidegger was to attend 
to ^ e ^ us ^ ness P art > Handel to the music. 
up* 9 The King supported the undertaking with 
his annual subscription of ^1000, and there appears to 
have been a board of directors ; but it is doubtful whether 
the new undertaking was on the same lines as the old 
one. It was, however, supported by some of the nobility 
as well as the King, for there was as yet no other audience. 
The first thing to do was to find singers, and Handel 
TT j j set off for Italy in the autumn of 1728. His 
friend, the Abbe SterTani, accompanied him, 
. and he visited Venice, Rome, Milan, and 
' other cities. On his way home he visited 

his mother in Halle, having previously forwarded a letter 


Again in Italy 

to his brother-in-law, Michaelsen, announcing his intended 
He reached Halle in June, and found that his 
mother was quite blind and paralytic, being only able to 
walk from one room to another with a stick. This was the 
last time he saw her, for she died on December 27th, 
1730, a few weeks before her eightieth birthday. 

It was during this visit that Handel received an invita- 
tion from Bach to visit him at Leipsic, Bach 
being too ill to go to Halle. But he would ***** 

not leave his mother, as was only natural, Another 

and this fact explains the apparent incivility e f ort to 
of his refusal of the invitation. 2 meet Handel 

Two subsequent letters to Michaelsen are extant, in 
which he thanks him for the care taken with the funeral 
of his mother, and for forwarding a copy of the funeral 

While in Italy, Handel had opportunities of hearing 
new operas by Porpora, Vinci, Pergolesi and Hasse. 
He was invited to visit Cardinal Colonna at Rome, who 
offered him a fine portrait of himself; but Handel hearing 
that the Pretender was a guest at the house, refused the 
invitation and the portrait, since it would not be at all 
suitable for him to meet the enemy of his patron, George 

In the Daily Courant of July 2nd, 1729, we find the 
following notice : " Mr Handel, who is just 
returned from Italy, has contracted with the The new 
following persons to perform in the Italian ^ era 

opera; Signer Bernacchi, who is esteemed *"f*9 
the best singer in Italy; Signora Merighi, a woman of 

1 The letter is extant and is quoted in full by Rockstro, p. 161. 

2 See pages 81,82. 



a very fine presence, an excellent actress, and a very 
good singer, with a counter-tenor voice ; Signora Strada, 
who hath a very fine treble voice, a person of singular 
merit; Signor Annibale Pio Fabri, a most excellent 
tenor, and a fine voice; his wife, who performs a 
man's part exceeding well; Signora Bertoldi, who has 
a very fine treble voice, she is also a very genteel 
actress, both in men and women's parts ; a bass voice 
from Hamburg, there being none worth engaging in 
Italy." 1 Handel had engaged Godfried Reimschneider, 
first bass in the cathedral of Hamburg, on his return 
journey. The company landed at Dover in September, 

,, . and the theatre opened with a new opera, 

Lotario. T , . , ~ 

p t \ Lotarto, by the new manager on December 

* 2nd, 1729; and this was followed by Par- 
tenope on February 24th, 1730.2 Neither work was 
very successful, and Handel, concluding that a leading 
singer was required to draw the public, engaged Senesino, 
through the good offices of Mr Colman, the English 
Minister at Florence. Senesino had been singing at 
Florence, and was engaged to sing in London for 1400 
guineas for the season. He made his reappearance in a 
revival of Scipio at the King's Theatre, and on Feb. 2nd, 
1731, sang the principal part in Poro, an opera which was 
very successful, and was repeated in the four following 
seasons. During this season Handel revived Rodelinda 

1 Handel had also engaged "some other persons of less account" 
(Hawkins, vol. v. p. 318), amongst whom was Commano, a bass. 

2 Lotario was published by Cluer's widow. After this Walsh 
became Handel's publisher. Both Lotario and Parthcnopc were 
arranged from old and well-known opera librettos which had been 
set by many Italian composers. 



and Rinaldo, the latter " with new scenes and cloathes." 
A change was also made in the singers : Signora Merighi 
was replaced by Campioli, an artificial soprano ; Pio Fabri, 
the tenor, by Pinacci, and Commano, by Montagnana. 

Handel was now hard at work again composing. 
On January i5th, 1732, he produced Ezio^ . 

and on February loth Sosarme* which. ' ' 
u u 4.1. r i f i r -i j *. u Sosarme 

though both fairly successful, failed to bring 

pecuniary profit to the partners. The libretto of Ezio 
was by Metastasio, that of Sosarme probably by Matteo 
Noris. Ezio was published by Walsh, and stolen by 
Cluer's widow ; and Sosarme was published as soon as 
possible by Walsh in order to forestall Mrs Cluer. 

More lampoons now appeared, of which the following 
are examples : 

" When smooth stupidity's the way to please, 
When gentle Handel's singsongs more delight, 
Than all a Dryden or a Pope can write." 


" In days of old when Englishmen were men, 
Their music like themselves was grave and plain. 

In tunes from sire to son delivered down, 
But now, since Britons are become polite, 
Since masquerades and operas made their entry, 
And Heydegger and Handell ruled our gentry ; 
A hundred different instruments combine, 
And foreign songsters in the concert join 
And give us sound and show, instead of sense/' 

In 1733 the new tenor Pinacci had left, and the com- 
pany was now reduced to five singers : Senesino, Strada, 



Bertolli, Celeste a new soprano, and Montagnana. For 
Q I i them Handel composed Orlando, produced 
January 27, 1733. This fine opera has 
several remarkable points. In it the composer is said 
by Burney (" History of Music," vol. iv. p. 365) to have 
used the diminished 7th for the first time, though the 
passage he quotes does not contain this interval. In 
order to represent the ravings of madness, Handel uses 
| rhythm, a novelty at that time, but made familiar to 
modern audiences by Tschaikowsky's " Pathetic " sym- 
phony; and he makes use of two "violette marine" a 
kind of viola-d'amour recently invented by the brothers 
Castrucci, one of whom was the leading first violin of the 
orchestra at that time. Colman remarks, " Orlando, very 
fine and magnificent." Its ninety pages were engraved, 
printed, and bound by Walsh in seventeen days. Flori- 
dante was revived, and the season closed with Bononcini's 
Griselda on June 9th. 

It will be remembered that while at Canons Handel 
had composed and performed an oratorio called Esther 
privately, this being the first work of the kind heard in 
England. In 1731, Bernard Gates, Master of the children 
, of the Chapel Royal, having by some means 

5 . er , obtained the score, caused it to be performed 
privately by his boys, the part of Esther 
being taken by John Randall, afterwards a Doctor and 
Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge. The 
orchestra was composed of amateurs who belonged to the 
Philharmonic Society. 1 A little later, Gates put his forces 
at the service of the Academy of Ancient Music, who 
privately performed Esther on a much larger scale, and 

1 Not the present Philharmonic Society, which was founded in 1813. 


supplied an orchestra from their own members. The 
success of these experiments was such as to induce some 
speculator to give Esther publicly in Villars Street, York 
Buildings, on April 20, 1732. 

This performance took place without Handel's sanction 
or participation, and in the then state of the law he could 
not prevent it, if he had wished to do so. But that he 
should not be entirely a loser, he arranged a performance 
for his own profit, of which the following advertisement 
appeared in the Daily Journal ' : 

" By His Majesty's Command. At the King's Theatre, 
in the Haymarket, on Thursday, the 2nd of May will be 
performed the sacred story of Esther ; an oratorio in 
English, formerly composed by Mr Handel, and now 
revised by him with several additions, and to be per- 
formed by a great number of voices and instruments. 

" N.B. There will be no acting on the stage, but the 
house will be fitted up in a decent manner for the audi- 
ence. The music to be disposed after the manner of the 
coronation service. 

" Tickets to be delivered at the same price." 

An important feature of this revision was the augmen- 
tation of the band ; some of the music being scored for no 
less than five violin parts, viola, violoncello, and bass, two 
flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, harpsichord, harp, theorbo 
and organ ; while some of the choruses are in seven parts. 

It was an enormous success, and seems to have com- 
pletely suppressed the Villars Street efforts. Colman 
mentions that " Hester, an English oratorio, was per- 
formed six times, and very full." The solo parts were 
sung in English by Strada, Bertolli, Montagnana and 
Senesino. The words "There will be no acting," refer 



to the performances by Gates, in which a certain amount 
of action was introduced. Handel, knowing his public, 
recognised that they would never tolerate any connection 
of the theatre with words from Scripture, and oratorios have 
continued to be performed without action to this day. 1 

Another performance of Handel's music without his 
participation was that already referred to in chapter vi. 
when the upholsterer, Arne, father of the celebrated 
Dr Arne, gave "Acis and Galatea" "with scenery, 
machines, and other decorations," and with action at 
the New Theatre 2 in the Hay market, on May lyth. 
This caused Handel to announce a performance for 
the i oth of June at the King's Theatre of the same work, 
as "revised by him, with several additions, and to be 
performed by a great number of the best voices and 
instruments," but without action. 

Del P6 now advertised, "Whereas Signer Bononcini 
intends, after the serenata composed by Mr Handel 
hath been performed, to have one of his own, and 
hath desired Signora Strada to sing in that entertain- 
ment : Aurelio del P6, husband of the said Signora 
Strada, thinks it incumbent upon him to acquaint the 
nobility and gentry, that he shall think himself happy 
in contributing to their satisfaction ; but, with respect to 
this request, hopes he shall be permitted to decline com- 

1 An exception was made in 1833, when an oratorio called the 
" Israelites in Egypt," made up of Rossini's and Handel's works on 
the same subject, was performed on the stage at Co vent Garden with 
action. Queen Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, at- 
tended, and the performance was very successful ; but the Bishop of 
London objected, and further performances were suppressed. 

a Called also the " Little Theatre." It stood nearly on the same 
spot as the present Haymarket Theatre. 


Senesino Revolts 

plying with it for reasons best known to the said Aurelio 
del Pb and his wife." This announcement was construed 
by the gossips of the day into a political allusion, an 
attempt of the Pretender to open a correspondence with 
the Academy of Music. Aurelio, they said, stood for the 
Pretender, Del for the devil, and Pb for the pope. 

The performance of Bononcini's Pastoral entertainment 
took place on the appointed day at Handel's theatre, for 
Handel seems to have been above the petty jealousies of 
the time. 

The success of Esther and Ads without action led 
Handel to see his way to a new kind of work which should 
answer if opera should fail, which it showed every sign of 
doing. But, faithful to his first love, he continued to 
struggle against adversity, and produced Orlando, the 
last opera in which Senesino sang for him. ~ 
Senesino seems to have been anything but 
an admirable character. He was insolent, 
cowardly, and quarrelsome. He had, while at Dresden, 
by his quarrels with the capellmeister caused the break 
up of the Dresden Company before Handel engaged 
him ; * and was publicly and violently caned behind the 
scenes by Lord Peterborough for his insolence to Mrs 
Robinson at a rehearsal. But he served Handel's pur- 
pose, and no doubt was in awe of him. He now revolted 
from Handel and joined Bononcini, who was ~ 
at this time engaged in organising a rival opera , 

house in Lincoln's Inn Fields. For this scheme TT d j 

Porpora was engaged as conductor, and all 
Handel's singers, except Strada, went over to the hostile 

1 Quantz, "Autobiography," referred to by Rockstro, p. 181. 



Handel was now without singers, but he was not yet 

rr y 7 beaten. There was no doubt whatever that 

' as far as he was concerned Italian opera was 

W inO era at an 6nd He had alread >' in his Te Deum 
. P r ' and in Esther proved his strength as a com- 
poser of massive choral music, for which 


there was no opportunity in opera ; and he 

now resolved to try his fortune with oratorio, in which the 
solo singers would not take so important a place as the 
chorus. His friend Aaron Hill, moreover, in the follow- 
ing letter, gave voice to a growing popular feeling that the 
English language was good enough for musical setting : 


Dec. 5, 1732. 

SIR, I ought sooner to have returned you my hearty 
thanks for the silver ticket, which has carried the obliga- 
tion further than to myself; for my daughters are both 
such lovers of musick, that it is hard to say which of 
them is most capable of being charmed by the compositions 
of Mr Handel. 

Having this occasion for troubling you with a letter, 
I cannot forbear to tell you the earnestness of my wishes, 
that, as you have made such considerable steps towards 
it already, you would let us owe to your inimitable genius 
the establishment of musick upon a foundation of good 
poetry ; where the excellence of the sound should be no 
longer dishonoured by the poorness of the sense it is 
chained to. 

My meaning is, that you would be resolute enough to 
deliver us from our Italian bondage, and demonstrate that 
English is soft enough for opera, when composed by poets 



who know how to distinguish the sweetness of our tongue 
from the strength of it, where the last is less necessary. 
I am of opinion that male and female voices may be found 
in this kingdom capable of everything that is requisite ; 
and, I am sure, a species of dramatic opera might be 
invented, that, by reconciling reason and dignity with 
musick and fine machinery, would charm the ear and hold 
fast the heart together. I am so much a stranger to the 
nature of your present engagements, that if what I have 
said should not be so practicable as I conceive it, you will 
have the goodness to impute it to the zeal with which I 
wish you at the head of a design as solid and imperishable 
as your musick and memory. 

" I am, sir, your most obedient and obliged servant, 

"A. HILL." 

Handel set to work, therefore, not on English opera 
this had already been attempted by others, -^ , , 
and had failed but on a new oratorio. A 
French drama on the subject of Deborah was utilised by 
Humphrey for the poem. His attention had been called 
to it by a setting of the song of " Deborah and Barak " 
by Dr Greene which had been recently performed. 

Handel finished the oratorio Deborah on February 21, 
1733. It is in several respects a remarkable work. Thus, 
the overture instead of being, as was usually the 
case, entirely unconnected with the work, contained the 
music of one of the choruses in praise of Baal ; while 
another portion of it forestalls the chorus of Israelites in 
answer to the Baal chorus. The opening number is a 
double chorus, as grand as any in Israel in Egypt. It 
is accompanied by three trumpets, three horns, two organs, 



and two harpsichords, in addition to the usual strings and 
oboes. There is also another double chorus, and one in 
six parts. Strada sang the part of Deborah. The prices 
were raised to a guinea for the boxes and half a guinea 
for the gallery. The Daily Journal announced on 
March 17: "By His Majesty's command, Deborah, 
an oratorio or sacred drama in English, composed by 
Mr Handel. The house to be fitted up and illuminated 
in a new and particular manner ; and to be performed 
by a great number of the best voices and instruments. 
N.B. This is the last dramatick performance that will 
be exhibited at the King's Theatre till after Easter." 

But the work did not draw. The high price of the 

tickets was partly responsible for this, and it was 

lowered for the three or four subsequent performances. 

The cabal which had been long formed against Handel 

H tTt Decame more active. The strong feeling 

05 . l 1 ^ of animosity will be judged from a letter 

agatns written by Paolo Rolli, the librettist of some 

of Handel's earlier operas, and the Italian 

Secretary of the Royal Academy, to the editor of the 

Craftsman, of which we give some extracts : 


" As I know your zeal for liberty, I thought I could 
not address better than to give you the following exact 
account of the noble stand lately made by the polite part 
of the world in defence of their liberties and properties, 

against the open attack and bold attempts of Mr H 1 

upon both. . . . The rise and progress of Mr H 's 

power and fortune are too well known for me now 
to relate. Let it suffice to say, that he has grown so 


More Hostility 

insolent upon the sudden and undeserved increase of 
both, that he thought nothing ought to oppose his 
imperious and extravagant will. He had for some time 
governed the operas, and modelled the orchestra, without 
the least control. No voices, no instruments, were 
admitted but such as flattered his ears, though they 
shocked those of the audience. Wretched scrapers were 
put above the best hands in the orchestra ; no music but 
his own was to be allowed, though everybody was weary 
of it ; and he had the impudence to assert that there 
was no composer in England but himself. Even kings and 
queens l were to be content with whatever low characters 
he was pleased to assign them, as is evident in the case 
of Signer Montagnana, who, though a king, is always 
obliged to act (except in an angry, rumbling song or two) 
the most insignificant part of the whole drama. This 
excess and abuse of power soon disgusted the town : his 
government grew odious, and his operas empty. 

" However, this, instead of humbling him, only made 
him more furious and desperate. He resolved to make 
one last effort to establish his power and fortune by force, 
since he found it now impossible to hope it from the 
goodwill of mankind. In order to do this, he formed a 
plan without consulting any of his friends (if he has any), 
and declared that at a proper season he would communicate 
it to the public ; assuring us, the very same time, that it 
would be very much for the advantage of the publick in 
general, and of operas in particular. Some people suspect 
that he had settled it previously with Signora Strada del 
Po, who is much in his favour : but all that I can advance 
with certainty is that he had concerted it with a brother 
1 i.e. Principal singers. 
I2 5 


of his own, 1 in whom he places a most undeserved con- 

" His scheme set forth in substance that the decay of 
operas was owing to their cheapness, and to the great 
frauds committed by the doorkeepers : that the annual 
subscribers were a parcel of rogues, and made an ill-use 
of their tickets by often running two into the gallery : that 
to obviate these abuses, he had contrived a thing that was 
better than an opera, called an oratorio, to which none 
should be admitted but by printed permits, or tickets of 
one guinea each, which should be distributed out of ware- 
houses of his own, and by officers of his own naming, 
which officers could not reasonably be supposed to cheat 
in the collection of half-guineas ; and lastly, that, as the 
being of operas depended upon him singly, it was just 
that the profit arising from hence should be for his own 
benefit. He added, indeed, one condition, to varnish the 
whole a little, which was, that if any person should think 
himself aggrieved, he should be at liberty to appeal to 
three judges of musick, who should be obliged within the 
space of seven years at farthest, finally to determine the 
same, provided the said judges should be of his nomina- 
tion, and known to like no other musick but his. This 
extravagant scheme disgusted the whole town. Many of 
the most constant attenders of the operas resolved to 
renounce them, rather than go to them under such extor- 
tion and vexation. They exclaimed against the insolent 
and rapacious projector of this plan. The kings, old 
and sworn servants of the two theatres of Drury Lane 
and Covent Garden, reaped the benefit of this general 

1 Either Smith the elder, who was devoted to him, or his brother 
manager, Heidegger. 


More Hostility 

discontent, and were resorted to by crowds in the way of 
opposition to the oratorio. Even the fairest breasts were 
fired with indignation against this new imposition. 

"Assemblies, cards, tea, coffee, and all other female 
batteries were vigorously employed to defeat the project, 
and destroy the projector. These joint endeavours of all 
ranks and sexes succeeded well ; and the projector had 
the mortification to see but a very thin audience at his 
oratorios ; and of about two hundred and sixty odd that 
it consisted of, it is notorious that not ten paid for their 
permits, but, on the contrary, had them given them, and 
money into the bargain, for coming to keep him in coun- 
tenance. This accident, they say, has thrown him into a 
deep melancholy, interrupted sometimes by raving fits, in 
which he fancies he sees ten thousand opera devils coming 
to tear him to pieces; then he breaks out into frantic 
incoherent speeches, muttering, sturdy beggars, assassina- 
tion, etc. 

" It is much questioned whether he will recover ; at least 
if he does it is not doubted but he will seek for a retreat in 
his own country, from the general resentment of the town." 

The letter ends with an epigram in which Handel is 
represented as combining with Wai pole to excise the whole 
nation, for " of what use are the sheep if the shepherd 
can't shear 'em ? " 

But the opposition was not confined to scurrilous letters 
such as the above : tea parties were given during Lent, 
an unheard - of practice, the evenings being purposely 
selected on which oratorios were announced, with the 
express object of attracting the audience away from 
Handel's music, and no efforts were spared to actively 
oppose him. 



Goupy, drawing master to the Prince of Wales, and 
scene painter, attacked Handel by a cari- , . . 
cature, 1 under the title of "The Charming " 

Brute." The story goes, that Handel in- 
vited Goupy to dine with him at his house in Brook 
Street, but left him alone after dinner; Goupy, looking 
out of a back window, saw his host in another room, 
writing, and surrounded by fruit and wine. Whereupon 
he went home and drew the pastel, which was reproduced 
with slight variations, and had a wide circulation. Handel 
is represented in the form of a fat hog, seated on a beer 
barrel and playing on an organ, to which are attached 
a ham and a fowl. The floor is strewn with oyster shells, 
and a turbot rests on a pile of books. At his feet are 
some musical instruments, and a scroll bearing the words 
" Pension, Benefit, Nobility, Friendship." ^Esop, stand- 
ing behind the organ, holds a mirror to him that he may 
see what he is like. On his head is an owl, and behind 
him are wine bottles. Below are the words : 

" The figure's odd yet who would think 
Within this tunn of meat and drink, 
There dwells a soul of soft desires, 
And all that harmony inspires ? 

" Can contrast such as this be found 
Upon the globe's extensive round ? 
There can yon hogshead is his seat, 
His soul devotion is to eat." 

He was accused of profanity because he caused Bible 

words to be sung in the theatre ! No efforts, however 

1 There are three variations of this pastel ; the original is now in the 

possession of Dr W. H. Cummings, Principal of the Guildhall Music 




mean, however scurrilous, were spared by his enemies 
to ruin and disgrace him. But his obstinate Saxon nature 
rose superior to everything. Though eventually ruined in 
health, in fortune, and with his mind on the verge of 
giving way, he still, like Sir Richard Grenville, " fought 
on," not knowing when he was beaten, till he finally over- 
came his enemies. 

Deborah was repeated in March and April 1733, ^th 
the boxes reduced to half-a-guinea and the gallery to five 
shillings. Though, like Esther, it was performed without 
action, the reporters of the period were so little ac- 
customed to the novelty, that they record that the 
King and Princess went to the Haymarket to " see the 
opera of Deborah" and refer to Esther "as it is now 
acted at the Theatre Royal." Besides these two oratorios, 
Orlando and Floridante were performed again this season, 
and Handel had the assistance of Senesino, Strada, Negri, 
and Bertolli, in the oratorios, if not in the operas. More- 
over, the King and the Court always warmly supported 


Chapter IX 

Handel goes to Oxford Prejudice of some of the Dons against the 
"Foreigner" Popularity of his music at Oxford He refuses the 
degree of Doctor in Music offered him Further efforts to ruin him 
Handel in conflict with the aristocracy Collapse of Bononcini 
Arbuthnot's satire in defence of Handel Arianna Carestini comes 
to England The engagement with Heidegger ends Handel en- 
gages a smaller theatre Alexander's Feast Arminius Giustino 
Handel is bankrupt Simultaneous collapse of the rival opera-house. 

IN June 1733 Handel went to Oxford, having been in- 
vited by Dr Holmes, the Vice-Chancellor of that University. 
. . . Thomas Hearne of St Edmund's Hall, one of 

O ^d tnose to whorn music did not appeal, and who 
therefore took upon himself to despise the art 
and its professors, gives the following account of the visit: 
"1733, J u ty 5- One Han dell, a foreigner (who, they 
say, was born at Hanover), being desired to come to 
Oxford, to perform in musick at this Act, 1 in which he 
hath great skill, is come down, the Vice-Chancellor (Dr 
Holmes) having requested him so to do, and, as an en- 
couragement, to allow him the benefit of the Theater, 
both before the Act begins, and after it. Accordingly he 
hath published papers for a performance to-day, at 53. a 
ticket. This performance began a little after five o'clock 
in the evening. This is an innovation. The players 
might as well be permitted to come and act." 
1 A University ceremony. 


At Oxford 

" July 6th. The players being denied coming to Ox- 
ford by the Vice-Chancellor, and that very rightly, tho' 
they might as well have been here as Handell and his 
lowsy crew, a great number of forreign fidlers, they went 
to Abbington, and yesterday began to act there, at which 
were present many gownsmen from Oxford. 

"July 8. Half-an-hour after five o'clock yesterday in 
the afternoon, was another performance, at 55. a ticket, in 
the Theater by Mr Handell for his own benefit, continuing 
till about eight o'clock. 

" N.B. His book (not worth id.) he sells for is." 

Another account says : 

"Thursday, the 5th of July. About five o'clock the 
great Mr Handel shewed away with his Esther, an oratorio, 
or sacred drama, to a very numerous audience, at five 
shillings a ticket. 

" Saturday, the 7th. The Chevalier Handel very judici- 
ously, forsooth, ordered out tickets for his Esther this 
evening again. 

" Some of the company that found themselves but very 
scamblingly entertained at our dry disputations, took it 
into their heads to try how a little fiddling would sit upon 

"Such as cou'dn't attend before, squeezed in with as 
much alacrity as others strove to get out, so that ere his 
myrmidons cou'd gain their posts, he found that he had 
little likelihood to be at such a loss for a house as, once 
upon a time, folk say he was. 

" So that, notwithstanding the barbarous and inhuman 
combination of such a parcel of unconscionable chaps, he 
disposed, it seems, of most of his tickets, and had, as you 
may guess, a pretty mottley appearance into the bargain." 


The Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate were performed on 
Sunday, July 8th, at the University Church, and on the 
Ath I' h fU w i n g Tuesday " the company in the even- 
ing were entertained with a spick and span 
new oratorio called Athaliah. One of the royal and ample 
had been saying that, truly it was his opinion that the 
theater was erected for other guise purposes than to be 
prostituted to a company of squeeking, bawling, outlandish 
singsters, let the agreement be what it would. This morn- 
ing, Wednesday, July nth, there was, luckily enough, for 
the benefit of some of Handel's people, a serenata in their 
grand hall. In the evening Athaliah was served up 
again ; but the next night he concluded with his oratorio 

The Gentleman's Magazine reports that Athaliah was 
received at Oxford "with vast applause, and before an 
audience of 3700 persons." 

He was offered the degree of Doctor in Music on 
. , , account of this oratorio. The degree fees in 

, those days amounted to ^100; and on being 

/ * asked why he refused the honour, he is re- 

ported to have said, "What the devil I throw 
my money away for that which the blockheads wish ? I 
no want." Chrysander, however, thinks that it was refused 
more courteously, and that it was offered as a mark of 
honour, without payment. 

In the foregoing extracts we again come across the 
En I' h att i tu de of contempt, prejudice, and ill-will 
/* 6 /. towards an art, the importance of which was 
mvs^ oj not - n ^g j eagt un d ers tood by Oxford digni- 
taries, who, living within their college walls 
amongst nothing but books, were blind and deaf to every- 


Again in Italy 

thing else. Not that our universities discouraged music, 
as far as they understood it. They have for more than 
400 years given degrees in music, and in music only, to 
persons who are not connected with the university by 
education or residence. 

But music, as understood by the Oxford and Cambridge 
authorities, was not an art. It consisted merely in a dry- 
as-dust study of ancient modes, and genera, of the mathe- 
matical proportions of strings and pipes, which have no 
bearing on modern art at all. Quid sit musicus? said Boethius 
in 500 A.D., and he answers the question to the effect that 
a musician is one who knows the mathematical theory of 
sound ; composers and performers who are merely guided 
by their genius are only artisans, and are not really 
musicians; and our universities, in 1733, endorsed this 
antiquated view. 

Dr Holmes was evidently a man in advance of his time. 
He risked odium and abuse to obtain an honour for his 
university, by getting the greatest composer of the day to 
pay it a visit, and he had his reward in the undoubted 
popularity of the music given by Handel. 

After the Oxford visit Handel went to Italy with Smith 
to engage a new company. He heard Farinelli T , . , 
and Carestini, but only engaging the latter, j^} 

opened the new season with him and Scalzi, 
the two Negris (sisters), and Durastanti. He had 
previously engaged Montagnana, who was under contract 
to sing at Oxford for him, and for whom he had written 
the part of Joad the High Priest in Athaliah; but 
Montagnana deserted him at the last moment and went 
over to the rival company. Strada remained faithful 


The Duke of Marlborough and the Prince of Wales 
,., , now set themselves to work with all their 

jr f * power to ruin Handel. The Prince of Wales 
" . rr j 7 had no particular object in so doing other 
than to show his dislike to his father, who 
had always been a supporter of Handel. The Duke of 
Marlborough and the "Nobilta Brittanica," as the aris- 
tocracy were called by Rolli in the dedication of his 
librettos, were supporting Bononcini in every possible 
way. The Duchess of Marlborough had given him, be- 
sides the pension of ^"500 a year, a house in her stable- 
yard at St James', and had two concerts every week, in 
which no music but his was performed. Moreover, she 
helped him with the publication of his Cantate e Duetti 
by obtaining subscribers for him, and he made ^1000 by 
the transaction. The fundamental cause of the quarrel 
(though not recognised) lay in the gradual change that 
, was coming over the position of the art of 

the^uarrel music in the social world - It: had been a 
b fmae** mere amusement 5 anc ^ i ts professors were glad 
Handel tO obtain the " P atrona g e " of the g reat - But 
a jtfa the more advanced of its exponents were be- 
ginning to chafe under this indignity, and to 
assert their rights as free men, who resented 
the patronage of those who were their inferiors in intellect, 
however they might be their superiors by wealth and 
social position. The Bach family afford several instances 
of this upholding of the dignity of the musical profession in 
Germany, and Handel was now doing the same in England. 
The aristocracy resented the so-called insolence of a mere 
musician who stood upon his dignity. The quarrel came 
to a climax in Handel's case, and he eventually won the 

Efforts to humble him 

day ; but Mozart after him had to endure much from the 
same cause, while everyone knows that the battle had 
been won in the time of Beethoven, who would bow to 
no one, and who was always treated with respect, in spite 
of his undoubtedly unpolished manners. 

Senesino, as we have seen, deserted Handel in favour of the 
opera of the nobility. He foresaw the coming ruin of the 
Handel-Heidegger partnership; he also saw that the oratorio 
with which it was being attempted to replace opera, owing 
to its preponderance of choruses, put the chief singer more 
or less in the shade. Handel was very angry at the deser- 
tion, and said that he should never again sing in his theatre. 

It was thought that Senesino himself hired the theatre 
in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the two theatres were referred 
to as "Haymarket, Handel's House," and "Opera, Lincoln's 
Inn Fields, Senesino's House." 

Efforts were now made to force Handel to re-engage 
Senesino, in spite of his having distinctly said he would 
never allow him to sing for him again. 

To give way on this point would be to allow himself to 
be beaten by the aristocracy, and his proud H d I 

spirit could not brook such a defeat. His 

. ,. . cannot be 

patrons became indignant against the "arro- , , 

gant man," and having given up their boxes 

at the Haymarket at the end of the iS'n , ,. 

T . . v obedience 
season, they hired the theatre in Lincoln s 

Inn Fields, and began to seek singers from abroad. They 
succeeded in getting Cuzzoni, Montagnana, and Farinelli. 
It is a curious fact that at this time while r^fa r j m i 
male sopranos were very much in fashion, company 
basses were thought little of, and tenors were ' y 

rarely employed. Senesino became one of the chief attrac- 


tions of the new opera company, while Handel engaged 
Carestini, an artificial contralto of great reputation. 

Handel's rival, Bononcini, was, however, destined to 
p jj f write no operas for the new company. In 

* 1731 a member of the Academy had re- 


. , f TT , , - 

ceived from Venice a book of compositions 

by Antonio Lotti, who was at that time organist of St 
Marks, and had selected from it a five-part madrigal, In 
una siepe ombrosa, for performance. This madrigal was 
at once recognised as having been produced four years 
previously at the Academy by Dr Greene as a composition 
by Bononcini. Correspondence with Lotti ensued, which 
resulted in his proving to the satisfaction of all except 
Greene that he was the composer ; and Bononcini, being 
unable or unwilling to answer the charge of plagiarism 
brought against him, fell into disgrace, and quitted Eng- 
land in 1733 never to return. 

The newly established " opera of the nobility " having 
engaged Arrigoni and Porpora as composers, opened with 
Ariadne by Porpora on December 29, 1733. The rehear- 
sal had taken place at the Prince of Wales' house, "where 
were present a great concourse of nobility and quality." 

Handel opened on the King's birthday, October 3oth, 

Semiramis J ^ 3 ' w ^ Stmramisi the royal ball was 

given up for this occasion, and the King and 

Court, and even the hostile Prince of Wales, attended the 

Caius opera. This was followed by Caius Fabricius, 

Fabricius * n wn ^ c ^ Carestini made his first appearance, 

Arbaces and in J anuarv b y Arba c^. These were 

pasticcios, 1 arranged by Smith from the music 

of various composers, the words being written in by 

1 Pasticcio, It. =a medley. 


Wedding Music 

Handel. On the occasion of the marriage of Princess 
Anne of England to the Prince of Orange, Handel pro- 
duced at the Haymarket a serenata called 
Parnasso in Festa, treating of the marriage arnasso 
of Thetis and Peleus, "being an essay in 
several different sorts of harmony." The modern news- 
paper puff is by no means a new invention, for we find 
in the Daily Journal zn. announcement that "People have 
been waiting with impatience for this piece, the celebrated 
Mr Handel having exerted his utmost skill in it." The 
performance was attended by the King and Queen, the 
Prince of Wales, who was now on friendly terms with his 
father, and the rest of the Royal Family, with the Prince 
of Orange. The music was mostly adapted from Athaliah 
to Italian words, while later on some of the original music of 
Parnasso was introduced into that oratorio. On the same 
occasion, besides an anthem, of which the music was copied 
from Athaliah by Smith, Handel writing in the new words, 
a Chandos anthem was performed at the Chapel Royal. 

Between January and June 1734 there were performed 
at the King's Theatre Ariadne, Deborah, Sosarme, Ads, 
and Pastor Fido, the last with large additions. In this 
year also were published the Oboe Concertos. 

Handel found a good friend in Dr Arbuthnot, who 
helped to fight his battles for him. In 1734 A i th 
he published Harmony in an Uproar : a ^ , f 
Letter to Frederick Handel, Esq., in which ffandsl 
the composer is summoned to appear on 
trial to answer to the charges of certain misdemeanours. 
" Imprimis, you are charged with having bewitched us for 
the space of twenty years past. Secondly, you have most 
insolently dared to give us good musick and harmony, 



when we wanted and desired bad. Thirdly, you have 
most feloniously and arrogantly assumed to yourself an 
uncontrolled property of pleasing us, whether we would 
or no ; and have often been so bold as to charm us when 
we were positively resolved to be out of humour. 

" Have you taken your degrees ? Are you a doctor ? A 
fine composer, indeed, and not a graduate. . . . Why, Dr 
Pushpin (Pepusch) and Dr Blue (Greene) laugh at you, and 
scorn to keep you company. . . . You have made such 
musick as never man did before you, nor, I believe, never 
will be thought of again when you are gone," etc., etc. 

On May 18, 1734, Handel gave Pastor Fido, "inter- 

* . mixed with choruses, the scenery after a 

particular manner." This was performed 
fourteen times, and on July 26th Arianna, a new opera, 
rp, the libretto by Francis Col man, was produced 

merfwM with Carestini in the P art of Theseus - The 
. . , season was not successful, but Handel bravely 

ei e SS er struggled on. His engagement with Heidegger 
came to an end on July 6th, 1 734, and his ad- 
versaries took advantage of this to engage the King's Theatre. 

* Handel at once went into partnership with 

und t k ' ~^* C k at tne sma ^ er an< * * ess convenient theatre 
" m ^ in Lincoln's Inn Fields for the next season. 
The rival company had endeavoured to obtain the ser- 
vices of Hasse, who was then at Dresden. He said 
" then Handel is dead," and when he heard that this was 
not the case, refused to come to London to put himself 
in competition with so great a man, though he was after- 
wards persuaded to do so. They company produced operas 
by Hasse, Porpora, and several others ; but London could 


New Collaborator 

not support one opera, much less two, and the inevitable 
result was the final ruin of both. 

After concluding the agreement with Rich, Handel paid 
a visit to the country, probably for his health's sake, and 
on October 5th he began the new season with Arianna at 
the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre. On November Qth 
Handel and Rich moved to the fine new theatre which 
had just been completed in Covent Garden, where Pastor 
Fido was revived, with a " Prologue " called , . , 
Terpsichore, as an opening piece for the new 
theatre. This was a kind of ballet, in which Apollo invites 
Terpsichore (Mademoiselle Salle*, a famous dancer) to dance. 

A pasticcio, Orestes, with dances, followed on December 
1 8th, and on January 8th, 1735, a new opera, Ariodante, 

followed. Yet another important opera, , . , 
AJ j j A -i ^.i %_ i Anodante 

Alana, was produced on April ioth, which ., . 

continued till the end of the season on July 
2nd. During Lent the theatre was used for oratorios on 
Wednesdays and Fridays, when no opera might be given. 
Esther was re-arranged, Athaliah was performed for the 
first time in London, and Handel began the practice of 
playing organ concertos between the acts of the oratorios. 

The opera of the nobility was now beginning to ex- 
perience adversity. Cuzzoni disappeared, but they still 
struggled on. Oratorio was tried by Porpora, who pro- 
duced his David and Bathsheba without success. 

In 1735 Handel was in correspondence with Charles 
Jennens, a very wealthy amateur poet, of Charles 

Gopsall in Leicestershire, about the words >, 

/- i i i i i lennens 

of an oratorio which the latter seems to have 

been preparing for him, and incidentally mentions that 
he was going to Tonbridge, probably for his health, which 



was now giving way. The oratorio in question is supposed 
to have been Saul. 

Matheson wrote to him in 1735 asking particulars of 
Handel's career for his " Ehrenpforte." Handel answered 
on July 29, thanking him and saying that " it would be 
impossible for me to recall the events of my past life, 
since continual application to the service of this court and 
nobility prevents me from giving my attention to other 
matters." Matheson thereupon said he believed Handel 
thought that Matheson expected a present from him. 

Carestini now left London to fulfil engagements in 
., , , Venice, and Handel set to work on a new 
Alexant ? EngUsh WQrkj Alexander's Feast, arranged 
for musical setting by his friend, Newburgh 
Hamilton, from Dryden's ode. This was completed in 
January 1736, and performed without action at Covent 
Garden on February iQth, the songs being sung by 
Beard, the English tenor; Erard, a bass; Miss Young, 
afterwards the wife of Arne ; and Strada. The ode had 
been arranged many years before by Newburgh Hamilton 
for Clayton, whose music was performed in York Build- 
ings in 1711. Clayton's music had been a failure, but 
Handel's attracted no less than thirteen hundred persons, 
while the receipts amounted to 450. 

Walsh died on March i3th, 1736, leaving to his child- 
u/ 7 J, / J, ren e i tner 20,000 or 30,000 according to 

bl h different accounts. He was a man of little 
pu is ei education, but he had a keen scent where 
money was to be made by publishing popular musical 
works. If he could not publish them with the com- 
poser's partnership, he simply pillaged them, a proceeding 
which probably paid better, as he would then reap the 


Handel Ruined 

whole instead of half the profits. His son, who continued 
the business, published for Handel. Alexander s Feast was 
published by him at a subscription price of two guineas. 
The cost of publication was greater than that of printing the 
operas, on account of the choruses. It was corrected by 
the composer, and a print of him, " curiously engraved," 
was given to the subscribers and encouragers of the work; 
but the publication was delayed for two years, when the 
composer's share of the profits amounted to 200. 

The season was carried on with repetitions of Alex- 
ander's Feast, Esther^ Acts, but proved a . 
failure, in spite of Handel's bringing over 
a new singer. This singer, Signer Conti, P ros P erous 
made his debut on May i2th in Atalanta^ 
which formed part of the festivities on the occasion 
of the marriage of Frederick, Prince of A* r * 
Wales, with a Princess of Saxe - Gotha. 

In 1737 Arminius was performed, but meeting with 
little favour gave way to Giustino, which also . . . 
had little success; but Handel was not to Giustino 
be beaten. Finding that operas no longer 
attracted the public, he gave regular performances of 
oratorios during Lent, with new concertos ^ Trionfo 

for the organ and other instruments, amongst , ; 

. . . , .. , del lempo 

other things reviving his early Italian work, rwfad 

II Trionfo del Tempo. 

Two more defeats were in store for him. Dido and 

Berenice produced in April and May failed to ^^ un _ 

please, and the blow fell. The King ceased success ful 

his annual subscription of 1000. Handel operas 
had spent the whole of the 10,000, the 
savings of many years, with which he began his manager- 



ship. He was deeply in debt, and was obliged to close his 
n theatre. His health was entirely broken by 

the struggle ; his mind gave way ; his right 
arm and side became paralysed, so that he could no 
longer perform in public ; and nervous prostration set in. 
The baths at Tonbridge failed to do him good, though 
he was a little better in May, and began again to conduct 
his operas. But in the end he was forced to give up and 
go to the baths at Aix-la-Chapelle. 

The public had in reality become indifferent to opera. 

,, j. The novelty had worn off, and in the same 

Causes of **__ r -i j -^ r 

, r j, J r year the rival house failed with a loss of 

j. j. ^ ;i 2,000. Farinelli, Porpora, Senesino, at 
once quitted England, and London was left 
with its Beggar s Opera, Polly, and similar 

immoral trash, for which it had shown so strong a pre- 
dilection. Covent Garden Theatre was now given over to 
performances of The Dragon of Wantley, a parody on 
Giustino by Carey, set to music by Lampe, Handel's 
bassoon player, in which Waltz played the part of the 
dragon. While Handel's finest operas were considered 
successful if they ran for sixteen or seventeen nights, this 
parody of one of them had a run of sixty-seven nights 
four more than the famous Beggar's Opera while its 
libretto went into fourteen editions in one year. 


Chapter X 

Handel returns from Aix-la-Chapelle Is threatened with imprisonment 
for debt Death of Queen Caroline Statue in Vauxhall Royal 
Society of Musicians Saul Israel in Egypt St Cecilia's day 
L 'Allegro ', il Penseroso ed il Moderate. 

HANDEL had a constitution of iron. He was with great 
difficulty persuaded to try the effect of the rr * j 
baths at Aix-la-Chapelle, but when he went A' f 
there "he submitted to such sweats, excited ,. *? ML 
by the vapour baths, as astonished everyone. 
After a few essays of this kind, during which his spirits 
seemed to rise rather than sink under an excessive per- 
spiration, his disorder left him ; and in a few hours after 
the last operation he went to the great church of the city, 
and got to the organ, on which he played in such a 
manner that men imputed his cure to a miracle. Having 
received so much benefit from the baths, he prudently 
determined to stay at Aix-la-Chapelle till the end of six 
weeks from the time of his arrival there, and at the end 
thereof returned to London in perfect health." 1 The 
London Daily Post mentions that " Mr Handel, the com- 
poser of Italian music, returned on November 7^1(1737), 
greatly recovered in health." 

Handel's reputation for integrity and honesty was such 

1 Hawkins' History of Music, vol. v. p. 326. 


that none of his creditors thought of suing him except 
Aurelio del P6, the husband of Strada, who insisted on 

,- . immediate payment, otherwise he would have 

P r l him thrown into prison. Imprisonment for 

, r. debt in those days was something too terrible 

, to contemplate. The victims were confined 

threatened Al _ ^, . ... 

in the Pleet, or some other place, where, if 

they did not become insane, they lived on charity, or 
starved to death, without a chance of earning a livelihood, 
much less of paying their debts. 

His six weeks' rest seemed to infuse new vigour into 
him. He found on his return that Heidegger had 

^ , opened the Haymarket on his own ac- 

Faramondo i. L , , 

count, and on November 1501 he began 

writing an opera for him called Faramondo. Queen 
Caroline died on the 2oth, and he had to compose an 
,r, , anthem for her funeral. This was performed 

an/fan in the Cha P el of Henrv VIL The score of 

"The Ways of Zion do Mourn" occupies 

eighty pages of print, and was composed in five days. 
Another five days were occupied in copying, rehearsing, and 
performing it. The choirs of the Chapel Royal, West- 
minster Abbey, St Paul, and Windsor took part, and there 
were one hundred instrumentalists and eighty vocalists. 

The death of the Queen delayed the production of 
Faramondo to January 1738. It was a failure, and 
~ Handel tried with equally bad success a pas- 

ticcio, Alexander Severus, and a comic opera, 
Serse or Xerxes. But the tide was now at its lowest. The 
threat of Del P6 caused a reaction in Handel's favour. 
The public admired his courage, and had an immense 
esteem for his character, and his friends persuaded him 


Revulsion of Feeling 

to give a " benefit concert " much against his will. This 
was advertised as an " Oratorio," but it in reality consisted 
of a number of extracts from his favourite works in the 
form of an ordinary concert. He also played a concerto 
on the organ ; and the theatre being crowded, seats were 
placed upon the stage, and were occupied n 7 P" 
by no less than five hundred persons of " fo s 

rank. Everyone seemed to wish to do the -Tj 

master honour, and the receipts, estimated by 
Burney at 800, and by Mainwaring at 1500, were 
amply sufficient to pay off Del P6. 

A month later a statue was erected to him in Vauxhall 
Gardens by Jonathan Tyers, the lessee of . f 

that place of entertainment. This statue, f * ^ 
which was acknowledged to be an excellent me m P 05er 
likeness, was the first important work of 
Roubiliac, and established his reputation. Handel gave 
many sittings for it, and the cost was .300. It was 
placed in a niche specially prepared for it, and on May 
2nd was unveiled at a great concert of Handel's music, 
which was attended by a very large audience. 

After passing through many hands it came into the 
possession of Mr Alfred Littleton, the present owner. 

Handel's music was very popular at Vauxhall and other 
public places. The following anecdote appears in the 
" History of the Parish of Marylebone " : l " While Maryle- 
bone Gardens were flourishing, the enchanting music of 
Handel, and probably of Arne, was often heard from the 
orchestra there. One evening, as my grandfather and 
Handel were walking together and alone, a new piece was 
struck up by the band. 'Come, Mr Fountayne,' said 
1 Smith, 1833. 

K 145 


Handel, ' let us sit down and listen to this piece. I want 
to know your opinion of it.' Down they sat, and after 
some time the old parson, turning to his companion, said, 
' It is not worth listening to it's very poor stuff.' 'You 
are right, Mr Fountayne,' said Handel ; ' it is very poor 
stuff. I thought so myself when I had just finished it.' 
The old gentleman, being taken by surprise, was begin- 
ning to apologise, but Handel assured him there was no 
necessity, that the music was really bad, having been com- 
posed hastily and his time for the production limited, and 
that the opinion given was as correct as it was honest." 1 

Besides Walsh, who had the engraving (p. 97) made, 
Handel could reckon amongst his admirers Pope, Field- 
ing, Hogarth, Smollett, Gay, Arbuthnot, Colley Gibber, 
Hughes, etc., while all his operas were published, whether 
they were successful or not. George II. made a point 
of attending all the performances of his oratorios, even 
when the audiences were very thin. " What, my Lord," 
said someone to Lord Chesterfield, who was seen coming 
out of Covent Garden Theatre one evening, " is there not 
an oratorio?" "Yes," said Lord Chesterfield; "they 
are now performing, but I thought it best to retire, lest I 
should disturb the King in his privacy." Princess Anne, 
who married the Prince of Orange, took Handel's part, 
and the Prince of Wales ceased to be hostile to him. 
~ . . / One of the results of the Italian opera 
P j was that many musicians, foreign and English, 
~ . /- were attracted by the possibilities of reward 
,, r. * to settle in London. The profession natur- 
ally became overcrowded ; the weaker mem- 
bers, the old and infirm, the families of those who died, 
1 Letter from the Rev. J. Fountayne. 


Royal Society of Musicians 

were pushed out of the competition, and found themselves 
in a starving condition. 

Amongst the numerous oboe players who were thus 
attracted was one named Kytch, who had come from 
Germany, but becoming unable to support himself, he 
had died of starvation in the street, while his two young 
sons made a miserable living by driving milch asses. 
Festing, a violinist, afterwards leader of the orchestra at 
Ranelagh Gardens, struck with pity at the sight of these 
boys, after raising a subscription to relieve the immediate 
wants of the family, induced Dr Greene to help him to 
organise a permanent fund for the relief of similar cases. 
They were immediately joined by Handel, Dr Boyce, Dr 
Arne, Christopher Smith, Carey, Edward Purcell (son of 
the great Purcell), Leveridge, Dr Greene, Dr Pepusch, 
and others, who in 1738 established a "Fund for the 
support of Decayed Musicians and their Families." Out 
of this grew the present Royal Society of Musicians of 
Great Britain. Handel, it will be seen, came forward at 
a time when he was in monetary distress himself to help 
others who were more unfortunate, and sank all his differ- 
ences with Greene, Arne, etc., in the cause of charity. 
How nobly he continued to support the " Fund " for 
the rest of his life, will appear in the course of this 

On March 20, 1739, Alexander's Feast was performed 
with various concertos for the organ and a new concerto 
specially composed for the benefit of the Fund for Poor 
Musicians. This took place at the Haymarket Theatre. 
Not only was the house full, but many gave subscriptions 
over and above the price of the tickets. Heidegger gave 
^20, and Handel gave the theatre and his own services. 



He could do no more. He was still deeply in debt, and 
he gave his services in circumstances under which he 
could quite reasonably have claimed some of the profits 
for himself. 

Heidegger failed in 1738. He had advertised that he 

r -j * would continue the opera if two hundred 
Failure of , ., f r , , . ,, ,. , 

TT . , J subscribers came forward ; but they did not, 
Heidegger .' 

and London was now without an opera. 

Handel published the first six organ concertos in 
September 1738. "To all lovers of music: whereas 
there are six concertos for the organ by Mr Handel 
published this day, some of which have been already 
printed by Mr Walsh, and the others done without the 
knowledge or consent of Mr Handel : this is to give 
notice, that the same six are printing, and will be pub- 
lished in a few days, corrected by the author. 

In 1739 Handel took the Haymarket Theatre for the 
performance of oratorio twice a week, and from this 
time he gave twelve performances every year during Lent. 
, The first oratorio he gave here was Saul, 

which had occupied him from July 3rd to 
September 27th, 1738. It contains the longest of 
Handel's overtures. At the end of the second of the 
four movements, the organ, which is used throughout 
as a solo instrument, is given an empty space in the 
score, marked Organo ad libitum. Here Handel gave 
an extempore performance; and the third movement, 
a fugue, contains brilliant organ solo passages. The 
oratorio was performed "with several new concertos 
on the organ," but some numbers are marked in the 
book of words to be omitted. 


Israel in Egypt 

On April 4th, 1739, Israel in Egypt was performed 
"with several new concertos on the organ." 
This work had been composed in twenty- 
seven days during the previous year. It 
does not seem to have been successful, and was repeated 
on the i ith "in a shortened form, intermixed with songs." 
These songs were Italian ballads ; and the oratorio was 
preceded at both performances by the " Funeral Anthem " 
as a lamentation for the death of Joseph. The audience, 
accustomed to a lighter form of art, could not tolerate the 
succession of massive eight part choruses. A letter, 
however, appeared in the London Daily Post from one of 
the audience, begging for a repetition of the work, and 
shortly afterwards, a paragraph " We are informed that 
Mr Handel, at the desire of several persons of distinction, 
intends to perform again his last new oratorio of Israel 
in Egypt on Tuesday next, the i;th inst." It had thus 
three performances in its first year; and a fourth was 
advertised, but was given up. "This day, the last new 
oratorio called Saul, and not Israel in Egypt, as by 
mistake was advertised in yesterday's bills and papers; 
with a concerto on the organ by Mr Handel, and another 
on the violin, by the famous Signor Piantanida, who is 
just arrived from abroad." It had one performance in 
1740, "with a new concerto for several instruments, and 
a concerto on the organ," and then was shelved till 1756. 

In Israel Handel did not use a text by a modern 
writer, but chose words from Scripture itself. The 
second part was written first, and called " Moses' Song, 
Exodus, chapter xv." The first, or historical part, was 
added afterwards. On the supposed borrowings in this 
work, we will speak later. It was performed by the 



Academy of Ancient Music, on May loth, 1739, under 
the title " The Song of Moses and the Funeral Anthem 
for her late Majesty, set to music by Mr Handel," and 
it was also given in Oxford. 

A pasticcio, Jupiter in Argos, composed in April 1739, 
was advertised for May ist, but it is doubtful whether 
the performance ever took place. 

In November, Handel was again in the theatre in 

n/f f ^t 
-, -f->j 

Lincoln's Inn Fields, when " a new ode, with 
two new concertos for several instruments, 

preceded by Alexander's Feast^ and a concerto 
on the organ, " were announced for St Cecilia's day, 
November 22nd, 1739. It was also announced that " the 
passage from the fields to the house will be covered for 
better conveniency." 

The words of the " new ode " were by Dryden. 
St Cecilia's day was at that time honoured by musical 
performances on a grand scale, which had been first 
instituted by Purcell and his master, Dr Blow. They 
took the form of concerts in the theatres, or a per- 
formance of the Te Deum in cathedrals and churches. 
Purcell's Te Deum and Jubilate in D were composed 
for a performance in honour of St Cecilia in 1694. 
Cecilia societies were founded in most of the important 
towns in England, and odes were written by the best 
poets. Thus Dryden wrote Alexander's Feast^ or the 
Power of Music and an Ode on St Cecilia's Day^ and 
Pope, who, though having no ear for music, was not so 
crass as not to respect an art so closely allied to his own, 
wrote a fine Ode on St Cecilia s Day, in praise of 
music, which Greene set to music as his Doctor's 
exercise. Pope, who had a genuine admiration for Handel's 


Pope and Handel 

genius, wished him to set this ode, and employed Belchier, 
a friend of both, to negotiate. But Handel would have 
nothing to do with it, saying, "It is the very thing my 
bellows-blower has set already for a Doctor's degree at 
Cambridge." Christopher Smith asked why Pope, who 
was absolutely insensible to music, had praised Handel in 
his Dunciad; Pope said, " That merit in every branch of 
science ought to be encouraged ; that the extreme 
illiberality with which many persons had joined to ruin 
Handel, in opposing his operas, called forth his indig- 
nation ; and though nature had denied his being gratified 
by Handel's uncommon talents in the musical line, yet 
when his powers were generally acknowledged, he thought 
it incumbent on him to pay a tribute due to genius." 

Pope one day asked Arbuthnot, of whose knowledge 
in music he had a high idea, what was his real opinion in 
regard to Handel as a master of that science. The doctor 
immediately replied, " Conceive the highest that you can 
of his abilities, and they are much beyond anything that 
you can conceive." 

In February 1740 there was a great frost, and we read 
that " In consideration of the weather continuing so cold, 
the serenata called Ads and Galatea will be put off for a 
few nights further, of which due notice will be given." 
Opera seems now to have entirely given way to oratorio, 
for the season was occupied with several performances 
each of Alexanders Feast, Ode on St Cecilia's Day, Acts, 
1} Allegro, Saul, Esther, and Israel in Egypt. There 
were published during the season, Seven sonatas or Trios 
op. 5 a ; and Twelve grand concertos in seven parts, for four 
violins, a tenor and violoncello, with a thorough-bass for 
the harpsichord op. 6 a . The latter was sold to subscribers 


at two guineas, and was under " His Majesty's royal 
licence and protection." 

The season again proved unsuccessful, yet Handel, 
* ,, in spite of his troubles and his debts, 

j. T gave a performance on March 28th of 
unsuccessful 8 A . , f _ , , ~, ur , ... . 

Acts and Dryden s Ode for the Musical 

Fund benefit." The bitter persecution of 
his enemies continued, and extended even to tearing 
down his play-bills as fast as he could put them up. But 
he must have received some consolation in the efforts of 
poets to sing the praise of the man who had gone through 
so much, and had borne himself so well in the fight. 
Newburgh Hamilton writes 

" To Mr Handel on his setting to musick Mr Dryden's ' Feast of 

" Let others charm the list'ning scaly brood, 
Or tame the savage monsters of the wood ; 
With magick notes enchant the leafy grove, 
Or force ev'n things inanimate to move : 
Be ever your's (my friend) the god-like art 
To calm the passions, and improve the heart ; 

That artist's hand (whose skill alone could move 
To glory, grief, or joy, the Son of Jove) 
Not greater raptures to the Grecian gave, 
Than British Theatres from you receive : 
That Ignorance and Envy vanquished see ; 
Heav'n made, you rule the world by Harmony. 

Had Dryden lived, the welcome day to bless 
Which cloth'd his numbers in so fit a dress ; 

I 5 2 

Last Opera 

When his Majestic Poetry was crowned 
With all your bright magnificence of sound ; 
How would his wonder and his transport rise ? 
Whilst famed Timotheus yields to you the prize." 

Handel found it hard to entirely give up his beloved 
Opera. On November 22, 1740, he produced . , . 
Imeneo or Hymen, which was withdrawn . ~ 
after two representations, and his last opera, as ^ era 
Detdamia, was performed three times in January and 
February 1741. After this he withdrew from Opera 
for ever. 

1} Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderate, the words of 
the first two by Milton, the third by Charles TIAJJ 
Jennens, was given in the Lincoln's Inn ' -Sp ' 
Fields Theatre, "with two new concertos for * en ~ 

several instruments, and a new concerto on , ., 

the organ," on February 27, 1740. Some a>r , 

, . 6 U1 r , ' ' , '* , , Moderate 

of its songs were published by Walsh on 

March i5th at four shillings, and a second collection of 
the songs was published in May at three shillings, the 
two collections containing the whole of the songs in the 
three parts. 

A 53 

Chapter XI 

The Messiah Handel goes to Dublin Is received with great enthusiasm 
Returns to London Samson The hostility continues Semele 
" Dettingen" TeDeum Joseph Behhazzar Hercules Lord Middle- 
sex's opposition company Handel is bankrupt again He continues 
the struggle Judas Maccabaus Handel's music is used against 
him Joshua Solomon Susanna Fire Music Handel is made 
a governor of the Foundling Hospital Theodora. 

IN 1741 Charles Jennens, who had now become one of 
T , Handel's most intimate friends, selected for 

,, . , him from Scripture the words of an oratorio 
on the subject of the " Messiah." Handel 
had been invited by the Duke of Devonshire, the Viceroy 
of Ireland, to pay a visit to Dublin, where many per- 
formances of his works had taken place, and where he 
was held in great esteem. He therefore resolved to offer 
the Messiah, on which he was engaged, " to that generous 
and polite nation" (Ireland) in aid of certain charitable 
societies, for every charitable work interested him. We 
learn by the autograph score in Buckingham Palace that 
it was begun on August 22nd, 1741, that the first part was 
finished on August 28th, the second part on September 
6th, the third on September 1 2th, and that the " filling in " 
was completed by September i4th. The composition of 
the whole, therefore, occupied twenty-two days ! 

He is supposed to have left London about November 



: r* 


4th or 5th. Burney, who was then at school at Chester, 
relates that he saw him smoke a pipe over a dish of 
coffee at the Exchange Coffeehouse. He was detained at 
Chester (at that time the place of embarkation for Ireland) 
by contrary winds for several days, and during this time 
he applied to Mr Baker, organist of the cathedral, to know 
if there were any choir men who could sing at sight, for 
he wished to try some of the choruses which he intended 
to perform in Ireland. A time was appointed at the 
" Golden Falcon " Inn, where Handel was staying. But 
alas ! on trial of the chorus, And with His stripes we are 
healed, poor Janson (a printer, and the principal bass of 
the choir), after repeated attempts, failed so egregiously, 
that Handel let loose his great bear upon him ; and, after 
swearing at him in four or five different languages, cried 
out, in broken English : " You scoundrel ! did you 
not tell me that you could sing at sight ? " " Yes, 
sir," said the printer, " and so I can, but not at first 

The account of the visit to Ireland is very interesting, 
v . . and has been fully recorded by Horatio 

m o Townsend. A new concert room, capable 
of accommodating an audience of 600 
persons, had recently been erected in Fishamble Street, 
then a fashionable quarter. Here took place the 
meetings of the Musical Academy, an amateur society 
consisting of members of the aristocracy only. Lord 
Mornington * was the president and leader of the band ; 
Lord Belamont and Dean Burke were violoncellists; 
Lord Lucan played the flute : Lady Freke, the Right 

1 Afterwards Doctor and Professor of Music at Dublin University. 
He was the composer of the well-known double chant in E. 


Handel at Dublin 

Hon. W. Brownlow and Dr Quin the harpsichord. 
Though the meetings were mostly private, the society 
performed once a year for charities, when the public 
were admitted on payment. 

Faulkner *s Journal of Nov. 21, 1741, announces that 
" last Wednesday the celebrated Dr Handel arrived here, 
in the packet boat from Holyhead ... to perform his 
Oratorios, for which purpose he hath engaged Mr 
Maclaine, his wife, and several others of the best per- 
formers in the musical way." Maclaine was an excellent 
organist. Later on we read, "Last Tuesday arrived 
in the Yacht from Park Gate, Signora Avolio, an 
excellent singer, who comes to this kingdom to perform 
in Mr Handel's musical entertainments." The Messiah^ 
however, was not performed yet. Several public " enter- 
tainments" took place at the new music hall, the first 
being on December 23rd, at which U Allegro was 
performed with the usual two grand concertos, and an 
organ concerto, and considered " superior to anything of 
the kind in the kingdom before." The same music was 
repeated in January, by command of the Duke and 
Duchess of Devonshire, and was followed a week later 
by Ads and other works. By this time the entertain- 
ments had become so popular that it was found necessary 
to regulate the traffic, to hire a convenient room for the 
footmen, and to make another convenient passage for 
(sedan-) chairs. 

The choruses were sung by members of the Philhar- 
monic Society, the Musical Academy, and such members 
of the choirs of both cathedrals as would give their 
services. Altogether eight of these concerts took place 
before the Messiah was performed, and great enthusiasm 



prevailed. Handel had been naturally anxious that his 
works should be performed to the best advantage and, 
before leaving London, had stipulated that the trained 
choirs of the cathedrals should take part. This stipula- 
tion was agreed to by the authorities for charity concerts 
only, since it was found that promiscuous singing at 
concerts led to imaginary or real abuses. He had 
been some five months in Dublin, and the enthusiasm 
for him had reached the highest pitch when the following 
notice appeared in Faulkner's Journal, March 27th, 

" For the relief of the prisoners in the several gaols, 
and for the support of Mercer's Hospital, and the 
Charitable Infirmary, on Monday the i2th of April will 
be performed at the Musick Hall in Fishamble Street, 
Mr Handel's grand new oratorio, called The Messiah, in 
which the gentlemen of the choirs of both cathedrals will 
assist, with some concertos on the organ by Mr Handell. 
Tickets to be had at the Musick Hall, and at Mr 
Neal's in Christ Church Yard, at half-a-guinea each. 
N.B. No person will be admitted to the rehear- 
sal without a rehearsal ticket, which will be given 
gratis with the ticket for the performance when pay'd 

On April loth a further notice requested the ladies to 
come without hoops, which they did. This enabled 700 
persons to attend, and the receipts amounted to about 
^400, of which ^127 was given to each of the three 
" great and pious charities." 

The three Dublin papers concurred in saying, "The 
best judges allowed it to be the most finished piece of 
music. Words are wanting to express the delight it 


Returns to London 

afforded to the admiring crowded audience. The sublime, 
the grand, and the tender, adapted to the most elevated, 
majestic and moving words, conspired to transport and 
charm the ravished heart and ear. It is but justice to 
Mr Handel that the world should know he generously 
gave the money arising from this grand performance to be 
equally shared by the Society for relieving prisoners, the 
Charitable Infirmary and Mercer's Hospital, for which 
they will ever gratefully remember his name; and that 
the gentlemen of the two choirs, Mr Dubourg, Mrs 
Avolio and Mrs Gibber, who all performed their parts 
to admiration, acted also on the same disinterested 

"At the particular desire of several of the nobility and 
gentry " a second performance took place on June 3rd. 
In order to keep the room as cool as possible, a pane of 
glass was removed from the top of each window. This 
was Handel's last performance in Dublin. 

On August 1 2th he embarked on a Chester trader, 
with "several other persons of distinction," to go to 
Parkgate, and reached London in due course. 

His visit to Dublin was one of the pleasantest episodes 
in his stormy career. Here he found peace and, what is 
more to an artist, complete appreciation of his works. 
He fully intended to renew his acquaintance with the 
friendly Irish public in the following year, but events 
happened which prevented his ever going to Dublin 

Handel was not certain as to his movements on his 
return to London. In a letter to Mr Jennens of the 
9th of September he says, " The report that the direction 
of the opera next winter is committed to my care is 



groundless. The gentlemen who have undertaken to 
meddle with harmony cannot agree, and are quite in a 
confusion. Whether I shall do something in the oratorio 
way (as several of my friends desire), I cannot determine 
as yet. Certain it is, that this time twelvemonth I shall 
continue my oratorios in Ireland, where they are going to 
make a large subscription already for that purpose." 

The Messiah had been completed on September i4th 
in the previous year, and Samson had been 

begun immediately. The first act was com- 
pleted on September 29th, the second on October nth, 
and the third on October 29th, 1741, but the two final 
pieces as the oratorio now exists were added in October 

The first performance took place at Covent Garden 
Theatre on February i8th, 1743, the part of Samson 
being sung by Beard, Manoah by Savage, Micah by Mrs 
Gibber, and Delilah by Mrs Clive. The only foreign singer 
employed was Signora Avolio ; and the trumpet obbligato 
in "Let the bright seraphim" was played by Valentine 
Snow. The old hostility had not quite died out. Horace 
Walpole writes, " Handel has set up an oratorio against 
the opera, and succeeds. He has hired all the goddesses 
from the farces, and the singers of roast beef from be- 
tween the acts at both theatres, with a man with one note 
in his voice, and a girl without ever an one, and so they 
sing and make brave hallelujahs, and the good company 
encore the recitative, if it happens to have any cadence 
like what they call a tune." 

Dubourg, the famous Dublin violinist, joined him, and 
Faulkner* s Journal endeavoured to encourage Handel by 
a friendly notice ; but the season again seems not to have 


Handel as Teacher 

been very successful. Samson was performed eight times, 

the Messiah three times (the first perfor- 

mance in London was on March 23, 1743), ,, . , 

and Allegro and the Cecilia Ode once each. . Messlah 

None of the London papers seem to have 

noticed any of these performances; and the season was 

concluded with Samson on March 3oth. 

Between June 3rd and July 4th Handel wrote Semele, 

and then began the " Dettingen " Te Deum 

j A *T. i_- i_ Semele 

and Anthem, which were solemnly sung in the ^ ^ . 

* r* TT ,. <-.,. T V-M i Dettingen 

presence of George II. at St James Chapel T n 

on November 2yth, 1743, in honour of the 
victory of the British army under the personal command 
of the King over Marshall De Noailles and the Due de 
Grammont at Dettingen on June 27th. 

" By particular desire " Handel set to work to arrange 

for twelve subscription oratorio performances A 

r T > i_ A new 

for Lent, 1744. The subscription price was . 

four guineas, and the composer engaged to ^ . 
give two new oratorios, besides some of his ' 

former ones. The first of the two new works was "an 
English opera, but called an oratorio, and performed as 
such," 1 at Covent Garden on February loth. Its name 
was Semele. The second was Joseph and his fosefih 

Brethren, in which a pupil of Handel, Signora ** ? 

Galli, made her debut on March 2nd. It is said that 
Handel's power of teaching singers was at Handel 
least equal to his power of composing music as a 

for them ; and every singer, however famous, teacher 

improved immensely under his guidance. 

From June to October he was in correspondence with 
1 i.e. without action. 



Jennens about a new oratorio called Belteshazzer, but the 

, , name was afterwards changed to its present 

Belshazzar r , 7 TT , . r , . 

form, Belshazzar. Handel found it too long. 

It would, he said, occupy more than four hours, though 
he had retrenched the music as far as possible. As 
Jennens would not curtail his words, Handel caused 
them all to be printed, but cut out some two hundred 
lines in the performance. It came to a hearing on March 
rj. , 23rd, 1745, but previously to this he had per- 

formed a "musical drama" called Hercules, 
composed during the correspondence on Belshazzar. 
When Handel failed in 1737, a new opera company 
was started at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket 
under Lord Middlesex, who carried it on at a loss for 
some years. 

This opposition society now failed, and Handel was 

therefore able to take the King's Theatre in 

ew , . the Haymarket again ; but though unable to 

mac ina- SU pp Or t a rival opera, his enemies were by 

IT* S d F n means i nact; i ve - They now took to giv- 
ing balls and card parties on the nights of 
his oratorios, though such things had been 
unknown during Lent, and succeeded in making his 
audiences so thin that he again became insolvent, for the 
, , proceeds of his Irish visit had been devoted 
to the payment of his former creditors. But 
^ was n0t at a ^ * n keeping with his charac- 
ter to give in to misfortune, and though for 
a second time ruined, he returned to the battle next 
season, reopened the King's Theatre for twenty-four sub- 
scription performances, and engaged to give two new 

oratorios. The subscription was to be eight guineas for 



Efforts of Enemies 

a box ticket for the season, the performances to take place 
every Saturday till Lent, when they were to be twice a week. 
A new oratorio, Deborah, with a concerto on the organ, 
was given on November 24th, and later on 
the Occasional Oratorio. Hawkins says that n e . ra 
he frequently played to houses that would Ucc ( asionc 
not pay his expenses ; and Burney mentions 
a Lady Brown, who gave very fine concerts, and dis- 
tinguished herself as a persevering enemy of Handel. 
A famous mimic and singer named Russell ^ .1 

was engaged by certain ladies to set up a 

, .,. . c hostilities 

puppet show in opposition to the oratorios of 

Handel, but he was not properly supported, became bank- 
rupt, and was thrown into prison, where he lost his reason. 
Thereupon his patronesses subscribed five pounds, on 
payment of which he was admitted to Bedlam, where he 
naturally became hopelessly mad, and died in the utmost 
misery. We have seen how narrowly Handel escaped 
the same horrible fate. Smollett, who was a friend of 
Handel, writes : 

" Again shall Handel raise his laurel'd brow, 
Again shall harmony with rapture glow ; 
The spells dissolve the combination breaks, 
And Punch, no longer Frasi's rival, squeaks. 
Lo ! Russell falls a sacrifice to whim, 
And starts amaz'd, in Newgate, from his dream ; 
With trembling hands implores their promis'd aid, 
And sees their favour like a vision fade ! " * 

The result of these machinations was that Handel had 
to close his theatre after the sixteenth performance, and 
was once more deeply in debt. 

1 Smollett, Satire called "Advice." 
I6 3 


But the tide was again about to turn. He resolved to 
, attempt no more subscription performances, 

, ,7 . but to open his theatre to all comers, and not 

n ^ to bind himself to any definite number of 

works. He had become acquainted with a learned 

antiquarian and scholar, Thomas Morell, a Doctor of 

, , Divinity, and he now proposed to him the 

/I- , feats of Judas Maccabaeus as a good subject 

for an oratorio. Morell took to the idea, 

provided a libretto, and Handel, setting to work on July 

9th, 1746, had finished the composition by August i ith 

thirty-two days. It is said that the subject had been 

suggested to Handel by the Prince of Wales to celebrate 

the return of his brother, the Duke of Cumberland, after 

the victory at Culloden on April 16, and the words were 

dedicated to the Prince by the author. 

The oratorio appealed not only to the political feelings 
of the time, but the Jews flocked to hear the exploits of 
their national hero dramatised. The result was an imme- 
diate success; and that it was lasting is shown by the 
fact that Handel himself performed it thirty-eight times. 
Rockstro points out that in the chorus, " We never will 
bow down to the rude stock and sculptured stone," with 
its magnificent finale, " We worship God, and God alone," 
" Handel preached a sermon in his own resistless language 
to which neither Jew nor Christian could listen unmoved." 

Lucius Verus, a pasticcio made up of songs pirated 
from various operas by Handel, was performed in 1747 at 
the Italian Theatre, and afterwards published by Walsh. 
It was found necessary to use his music and his name to 
attract an audience to the rival theatre, and this was not 
the first occasion that such measures were taken, for in 1 734 

Haydn's Appreciation 

his opera, Ottone, and in 1743, Roxana (another name for 
Akssandro\ had been performed in the theatre that was 
opened for the avowed purpose of ruining him. 

On June ist, 1747, Handel commenced Alexander 
Balus, and finished it on July 4th, and on the 
30th of this month he began Joshua, which 
was finished on August i Qth. Dr Morell was 
the author of the words of both oratorios. Joshua 

In later years, Haydn, after hearing the latter work 
performed, said to Shield that "he had long been ac- 
quainted with music, but never knew half its powers 
before he heard it, as he was perfectly certain that only one 
inspired author ever did, or ever would, pen so sublime 
a composition." He particularly referred to the chorus 
in Joshua, "The nations tremble." Both works were 
performed at Covent Garden in March 1748. 

Handel was now sixty-three years old, but he was in- 
defatigable as ever. As soon as the season was over, he 

set to work on two more oratorios, Solomon , 

T>T jo T i Solomon 

in May and Tune, and Susanna in July and 

J JL* * ' Susanna 

August. These two works came to a per- 
formance during the following season. The score of 
Solomon is written on all kinds of paper, from which 
Schcelcher concludes that Handel's affairs were still in 
an unsatisfactory condition, and that he could not afford 
to buy even the necessary music paper. 

On October 7th, 1748, the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was 
signed, and Handel was called upon to pro- p.^ mus ^ c 
vide music for the festivities that took place 
on April 27th, 1749. The most important item in these 

1 The scores were usually written in oblong books of ten staves to 
the page. 



celebrations was a display of fireworks in the Green Park. 
A wooden "machine" was erected 114 feet in height, 
and 410 feet in length, representing a Doric temple, from 
a design by Chevalier Servandoni. A band of 100 
musicians played an " Overture " by Mr Handel, a 
royal salute of 101 brass cannons was fired, the fireworks 
commenced, and unfortunately set fire to the temple, 
whereby the Royal Library narrowly escaped destruction. 
A rehearsal of the music had previously taken place at 
Vauxhall Gardens, before an audience of 12,000. The 
crowd was so great that it blocked all wheel traffic on Lon- 
don Bridge for three hours, such was the power of Handel's 
music to attract. The composition consists of a number 
of short movements scored for three trumpets, three pairs 
of drums, three horns, three oboes, two bassoons, strings, 
and side drums. There were three players to each 
trumpet and horn part, twenty-four oboe players, twelve 
bassoonists, and the string and side-drum and serpent 1 
players seem to have made up the number to 100 
as mentioned in the papers. The work became very 
popular, and was frequently played at concerts. 

A few days after the performance in Green Park, Handel 
gave a second performance of the Firework music, with 

1 This was the only work in which Handel employed the serpent, 
a kind of bass cornet. He did not like the tone of it, and a story 
is told, that one day hearing a bad player performing on it, he 
said, "What the devil be that?" On being told it was a serpent, 
he said, "Oh, the serpent; aye, but it be not the serpent that 
seduced Eve." The instrument has now disappeared, its place being 
taken by the more manageable ophicleide. Probably its latest 
appearance in a classical work is in the score of Mendelssohn's 
St Paul. 



other pieces, in the chapel of the Foundling Hospital, in 
the presence of the Prince and Princess of rr j j 
Wales. Tickets were sold at half a guinea; is ^ d 
the King gave ^2000, an anonymous donor ts ma 
^50, and the proceeds were devoted to finish- ^ 

ing the chapel. For this generosity Handel 
was immediately enrolled as one of the ff j 
Governors and Guardians of the Hospital. 1 os ** 

In March 1750 a new oratorio Theodora was pro- 
duced, " with a new concerto on the organ." ~, 7 , 

j TT j i j Theodora 

It was not a success, and Handel endeavoured 

to fill the house by giving away tickets to professional 
musicians who were not performing. This led to two of 
them asking for tickets for a performance of the Messiah ; 
whereupon Handel broke out in a rage : " Oh, your 
servant, Meine Herren, you are damnable dainty ; you 
would not go to Theodora ; there was room enough to 
dance there when that was perform ! " 

It is rather pathetic to see how devoted Handel always 
remained to this unfortunate oratorio, which never attracted 
the public. Before one performance he said to an inti- 
mate friend : " Will you be here next Friday night ? I 
will play it to you" On another occasion he heard that 
someone had engaged to take all the boxes, in case it 
was again performed ; whereupon he remarked : " He is 
a fool ; the Jews will not come to it as to Judas Macca- 
bceus, because it is a Christian story ; and the ladies will 
not come, because it is a virtuous one." Burney heard 
him say, when the house was very empty : " Never mind ; 
the music will sound the better." 

1 The Foundling Hospital had been established in 1741 by Captain 
Coram, out of the profits of a trading vessel of which he was master. 

I6 7 

Chapter XII 

Handel gives an organ to the Foundling Hospital Jephtha, his last 
work He becomes blind Triumph of Time and Truth He con- 
tinues to perform in public His death His funeral His will 
His support of the Foundling Hospital Portraits. 

HANDEL must by this time have paid off his creditors, 
p ., for in 1750 he presented the Foundling 

Hospital with a fine organ, and opened it 

w .^ a p er f ormance o f the Messiah on May 
Ith- The tickets were sold at half a 

guinea each, and the proceeds given to the 
S P 1 hospital. It was calculated that the chapel 

could hold about a thousand persons, the ladies com- 
ing without hoops, and the gentlemen without swords ; 
yet so great was the demand for seats that Handel gave 
a second performance a fortnight later, to which those 
who had bought tickets and had not been able to find 
room were admitted, besides others who desired to 

Rockstro x gives the specification of the organ, which is 
interesting as showing the kind of instrument in use at 
that time. It had three manuals, but no pedals. It was 
built by Parkes, and the natural keys were black, the 

1 P. 299. 
1 68 

Foundling Hospital Organ 

sharps being white. 1 The compass of the Great and 
Choir was from GG to E in alt, that of the Swell from 
Fiddle G to the same note. There were 21 stops, 
arranged as follows : 


Double-stopped Diapason. Flute. 

Open Diapason, i. Twelfth. 

Open Diapason, 2. Fifteenth.. 

Stopped Diapason. Block-flute. 

Principal, i. Sesquialtera of 3 ranks. 

Principal, 2. Trumpet. 


Dulciana. Fifteenth. 

Stopped Diapason. Vox humana. 



Open Diapason. Trumpet. 

Stopped Diapason. Cremona. 

This organ was replaced by a new one in 1854. The 
movement in favour of the now universal "equal tem- 
perament" for keyed instruments had already begun in 
Germany, but had not yet reached England, and in order 

1 This was not an unusual feature in the organs of those days. The 
picture by Thornhill in the Fitzwilliam Museum shows Handel play- 
ing on a keyboard of this kind ; a fine three-manual organ by Father 
Smith, belonging to the Mercers Company, had the same arrangement 
of the keys. It was replaced by a modern instrument in 1883. The 
organ that preceded the present one in Sevenoaks Church also had a 
similar arrangement of the keys. 



to enlarge the range of keys available, Handel caused four 
out of the five " sharps " to be doubled, so that there were 
separate sounds for GJf and Ab> A$ and Bb> C$ and Db> 
DJf and Eb- The only " sharp " left single being F$> which 
had to serve for Gb- It is not impossible that had 
Handel been as scientific a musician as Bach, he would 
have adopted equal temperament, and thus saved the 
duplication of sounds. 1 

From June 28th to July 5th Handel was engaged in 

~ y . r composing the Choice of Hercules, and he 
Choice of ., 

Tr , appears then to have paid a short visit to 

Hercules ^T r r ,, ^r 7 A -, , . r 

Germany, for the General Advertiser of 

August 2ist announces that "Mr Handel, who went to 
Germany to visit his friends some time since, and, be- 
tween the Hague and Haarlem, had the misfortune to be 
overturned, by which he was terribly hurt, is now out of 
danger." There seems to be no further record of this 
visit to Germany, except a remark of Forkel, that on 
Handel's third visit to Halle, Bach (who had wished to 
meet him) was dead. 

On January 2ist, 1751, Handel began his last work, 
Jephtha, which was not finished, however, till 
August. It is signed " G. F. Handel setatis 
66, Finis Agost. 30, 1751." The work was interrupted 

1 For the uninitiated it may be explained that it is impossible with 
only twelve sounds in an octave to have all keys in tune. If a few 
keys are tuned perfectly, the remainder will be so harsh as to be 
unendurable. " Equal temperament " puts all keys equally out of 
tune, but so slightly as to be unappreciable, and the composer has 
all keys equally at command. Bach's forty-eight preludes and fugues 
in all major and minor keys were written to prove the possibilities of 
equal temperament. 



Facsimile of last page of 'Jephtha. 


in February by illness, which drove him to Cheltenham 
for the sake of the waters, after the completion of the 
second act. The third act was begun on June i8th, 
and continued till July lyth, when his illness again seized 
him, and he was forced to stop work till August i3th. 
By this time his sight had begun to fail, and was rapidly 
becoming worse. Yet he gave two performances of the 
Messiah in April and May 1751, "with an extempore on 
the organ." His sight was too far gone to allow of his 
playing any longer from notes. 

He now placed himself in the hands of Samuel Sharp, 
the surgeon at Guy's Hospital, who found that he was 
suffering from incipient cataract. Hawkins says that " his 
spirits forsook him, and that fortitude which had supported 
him under afflictions of another kind deserted him in this, 
scarce leaving him patience to wait for that crisis in his 
disorder in which he might hope for relief. . . . Repeated 
attempts to relieve him were fruitless, and he was given to 
expect that a freedom from pain in the visual organs was 
all that he had to hope for the remainder of his days. 
As he could now no longer conduct his oratorios, he 
called upon Smith, the son of his amanuensis, to assist 
him, while he was forced to confine himself to extempore 
voluntaries on the organ." 

He underwent three painful operations with no result. 1 
n . The Theatrical Register informs us that on 
Operations May ^ I752j he was couc h e d by William 

' yes Bramfield, surgeon to the Princess of Wales. 
This was the last operation, and for a few days his sight 
was restored, but it again left him and never returned. 

1 The treatment consisted in forcing a needle through the eyeball. 
Anaesthetics were not ill use in those days. 


Pathetic Incident 

He was at first quite overwhelmed by his misfortune, 
but gathering courage he sent for his pupil the younger 
Smith from France, and together with him began a new 
season on March Qth, 1753. At first Smith played 
the organ, but Handel soon recovered sufficient courage 
to play his concertos from memory, and afterwards 

At the performance of Samson this season, many of the 
audience were moved to tears during the singing of 

"Total eclipse, no sun, no moon, 
All dark, amidst the blaze of noon." 

at the sight of the old blind composer sitting near the 
organ. Burney says that to see him led to the organ 
at seventy years of age, and afterwards conducted to- 
wards the audience to make his accustomed obeisance, 
was a sight so truly affecting and deplorable to persons of 
sensibility, as greatly to diminish their pleasure in hearing 
his performance. 

Schcelcher has shown that Handel must have been 
able to see a little at intervals during his blindness. A 
pencilled correction in his handwriting is found in a score 
vijephtha, made by Smith in the year 1758, and he was 
able to write his signature to three codicils to his will. 
The pencilled note of music is written with a trembling 
hand, and is higher than the line on which he wished to 
place it, and in the duplicate signatures to the codicil of 
1757 the letters are wide apart and very distinct. 

But though Handel ceased to conduct after he became 
blind, an organist, John Stanley, who had lost his sight at 
two years old, was announced in 1753 to conduct the per- 
formance of Alexanders Feast, and to play a concerto on 



the organ at the King's Theatre, for the benefit of the 
Smallpox Hospital. In those days the conductor sat at 
the harpsichord, accompanied the recitatives, filled in the 
harmonies, and apparently kept the band together by play- 
ing some chords if they got out. Spohr, who conducted the 
Philharmonic Society in 1820, insisted on conducting after 
the continental manner with a baton, and he says that 
no one after this was seen seated at the piano during 
the performance of symphonies and overtures. It would 
be as impossible for a blind man to conduct, in the 
modern sense, as for a deaf man to do so, but it would 
be quite possible for a blind man, gifted with unusual 
memory, to control the band from the harpsichord. 
TT f-7 Little is known of the next few years of 

Handel's life, beyond the fact that his enemies 
attacks -i j j o i 

were now silenced, and that he and Smith con- 
tinued to give performances of oratorios. In 
the evening of his life these became attractive enough 
to enable him not only to pay all his debts, but to 
amass another fortune of ^20,000. He was neither 
lavish nor parsimonious. He at all times lived within 
his means, and in ordinary comfort. When his fortune 
increased he was enabled to give more in charity, 
and to give his services more frequently in the same 
cause. He had an enormous appetite, due probably to 
the immense strain to which he subjected his physical 
powers during the production of his works. His only 
recreation before he was blind was to visit picture galleries ; 
every other hour of the day, and, judging from the pro- 
digious rapidity with which he produced his works, most 
of the night also, were given up to the most strenuous 
labour. With his income he might easily have kept a 



carriage, but he lived a perfectly simple life until his 
blindness forced him to employ a hackney coach. 

He continued to work till the very end. In 1757, 
the Triumph of Time and Truth, altered from the Italian, 
and with several new additions, was performed. In 1758 
it was repeated, with nine new pieces, dictated by the 
composer. The Italian words of Cardinal Pansili were 
translated into English by an unknown author, the reci- 
tative was to a great extent recomposed. 

In the beginning of 1759 Mainwaring says : " He was 
very sensible of the approach of death, and . , 

refused to be flattered by any hopes of a tfdeath 
recovery." He lost his great appetite ; yet 
he worked on. In February he gave Solomon, " with new 
additions and alterations." In March, Solomon, Susanna, 
Samson, Judas Maccabczus, and the Messiah. The season 
was the most prosperous he had ever had. On April 
6th the Messiah was performed at Covent Garden for 
the last time in the season, and he went home to his bed 
never to rise from it again. On April nth he added a 
fourth codicil to his will. He was perfectly aware that 
death was upon him, and wished that he might expire on 
Good Friday, " in hopes of meeting his good God, his 
sweet Lord and Saviour, on the day of His resurrection." 
Burney says, on the authority of Dr Warren, Death 

who attended him in his last illness, that he 
died before midnight on Good Friday, April i3th, 1759; 
but the Public Advertiser of April i6th says: "Last 
Saturday, and not before, died at his house in Brook 
Street, Grosvenor Square, that eminent Master of Music, 
George Frederick Handel, Esq." 

In confirmation of this, a letter is extant from James 



Smyth, a perfumer of Bond Street, an intimate friend of 
Handel, to Bernard Granville of Calwich, Derbyshire, 
which runs as follows : 

April \vh, 1759- 

" DEAR SIR, According to your request to me, when 
you left London, that I would let you know when our 
good friend departed this life on Saturday last, at eight 
o'clock in the morning, died the great and good Mr 
Handel. He was sensible to the last moment ; made a 
codicil to his will on Tuesday; ordered to be buried 
privately in Westminster Abbey, and a monument not to 
exceed ^600 for him. I had the pleasure to reconcile 
him to his old friends ; he saw them, and forgave them, 
and let all their legacies stand. In the codicil he left 
many legacies to his friends ; and among the rest, he left 
me .600, and has left to you the two pictures you 
formerly gave him. He took leave of all his friends on 
Friday morning, and desired to see nobody but the doctor, 
and apothecary, and myself. At seven o'clock in the 
evening he took leave of me, and told me we should 
meet again. As soon as I was gone, he told his servant 
not to let me come to him any more, for now he had 
done with the world. He died as he lived, a good 
Christian, with a true sense of his duty to God and man, 
and in perfect charity with all the world." * 

The funeral took place at Westminster Abbey, on April 
2oth, at about eight o'clock. Though it was private, no 
less than 3000 persons attended, and a sermon was 
preached by the dean, Dr Zachary Pearce, Bishop of 

1 " Delany Correspondence," vol. iii. p. 549. 



Roubiliac took a cast of the composer's face after 
death, and from it made the well-known monument, of 
which we give an engraving. It is said by Hawkins to be 
the best likeness of all the many portraits of him that were 

Death mask taken by Roubiliac for the monument 
in Westminster Abbey. 


Handel's will, written in his own handwriting, is pre- 
served at Doctors' Commons. It is given in 
full by Schoelcher, Rockstro, and others, and 
a facsimile of the original will, dated June 
ist, 1750, without the codicils, was published by Messrs 
Novello, in a special number of the Musical Times for 
December i4th, 1893. 

He left his savings to his niece, Johanna Friderica 

M I 77 


Floerchen, of Gotha, the daughter of Dr Michaelsen, who 
was also co-executor with George Amyand, merchant of 
London, subject, however, to the following legacies : 

2000 to Christopher Smith, his old friend and 

;iooo to the Royal Society of Musicians. 

500 each to his servant John Duburk, and his friend 
James Smyth, the perfumer. 

;6oo for his monument in Westminster Abbey. 

300 each to the five orphan children of his cousin 
George Taust, Pastor of Giebichenstein. 

300 each to his cousins Christiana Susanna Handelin, 
and Rachel Sophia; Thomas Harris of Lincoln's Inn 
Fields; the widow of his cousin Magister Christian 

200 each to Dr Morrell ; George Amyand ; Reiche, 
Secretary of Affairs of Hanover. 

.100 each to John Hetherington, of the Middle 
Temple; Matthew Dubourg, the violinist; Newburgh 
Hamilton; Mrs Palmer, widow, of Chelsea; Thomas 
Bramwell, his servant. 

Fifty guineas each to Benjamin Martyn of New Bond 
Street ; John Cowland, apothecary ; John Belcher, surgeon ; 
Mrs Mayne, widow, of Kensington; Mrs Downalan, of 
Charles Street, Hanover Square. 

It will be seen that of the ,20,000, a sum of 
7060 was divided between his personal friends, his 
widowed and orphan relations, the Royal Society of 
Musicians, and his servants ; the bulk of the property 
going to his niece at Gotha. 

To Christopher Smith he also left his large harpsichord, 
his little house organ, and his music books. 


Foundling Hospital 

To John Rich, his great organ, standing in Covent 
Garden Theatre ; to the Foundling Hospital, a full score, 
and all the parts of the Messiah ; to Charles Jennens, two 
pictures by Denner and to Bernard Granville of Calwich, 
in Derbyshire, two Rembrandts. 

His furniture, of which an inventory is extant, was sold 
for .48 to his servant John Duburk. It is probable that 
at the time of his pecuniary troubles he had been obliged 
to sell a good deal, and had never troubled to replace it. 
He had been in his later years exceedingly anxious about 
his future fame, and had offered ^3000 to Smith to 
renounce his claim on the promised manuscripts, in 
order that they might be deposited in the University 
of Oxford. Smith could not be persuaded to agree, 
and Handel held to his moral obligation, having sacri- 
ficed what he regarded as his means of continuing his 
memory, to his promise. He also requested that the 
Dean should allow of his being buried in Westminster 
Abbey, and left directions that the price of his monu- 
ment should be paid out of his estate. 

During his life he gave no less than eleven performances 
of the Messiah at the Foundling Hospital, and ~, 'table 
a twelfth was advertised for May 3rd, 1759, action* 

with his name as conductor, but, owing to his 
death, Christopher Smith took his place. The Hospital 
benefited by the eleven performances to the extent of 
^6935 ; and after his death continued to perform the work 
till 1768, realising ^"1332. For the next eight years John 
Stanley undertook the direction, and realised ^2032, so 
that the Hospital benefited by the Messiah altogether to 
the extent of ^"10,299. 

Smith refused an offer of 2000 for the MSS. by the 



King of Prussia, and would neither part with them nor 

w TT j 7 allow them after his death to go out of the 
Ike Handel ,, r ^ TTT 

,,. country, Ihe mother of George III. gave 

Manu- c r j r- 

him a pension of ^200 a year, and George 

III. continued it after her death, in return 

for which Smith gave the King all the manuscripts, the 
harpsichord, and a bust by Roubiliac. 

These manuscripts are now at Buckingham Palace, the 
bust is at Windsor Castle. The fate of the harpsichord was 
for many years unknown : it was supposed to have gone 
to Winchester, and have been possessed by Dr Chard, 
organist of the cathedral there, and finally to Messrs Broad- 
wood, who presented it to the South Kensington Museum. 
But recent research has discovered at Windsor Castle a 
fine Rucker's harpsichord, dated 1612, which Mr Hipkins 
identifies with every appearance of certainty as the one 
bequeathed by Handel to Smith. 

Among the existing portraits of Handel are the 
z> / y following : 

By Sir J. Thornhill, painted in 1720 (the 
Chandos portrait), representing the composer seated at the 
harpsichord. Now in the Fitzwilliam Museum. 

By Grisoni. In the Fitzwilliam Museum (formerly the 
property of Boyce). 

By Zincke, the most youthful existing portrait. In 
private possession. 

By Kyte, engraved by Houbraken at Amsterdam. In 
private possession. 

By a foreign artist, of which Hawkins gives a print, 
saying that it is the best of the portraits. 

By Hudson. Belonging to the Royal Society of 

i So 


By Hudson. At Buckingham Palace. 
By Denner, given to John Christopher Smith. In 
private possession. 

By Hudson, half-length. In the Bodleian Library. 

By Hudson, full-length, 1756. Now at Gopsall. 

By Hudson. In the National Portrait Gallery. 

By Hudson or Kneller. In private possession at Berlin. 

By Mercier. In private possession. 

By G. A. Wolfgang. In private possession. 

By Reynolds. In private possession. 

A head. In the Music School at Oxford. 

By Vander Myn. ) T . 

P/ ^ , , > In private possession. 

Two miniatures at Windsor Castle, and the two statues 
by Roubiliac, mentioned on p. 145 and p. 177. 

Handel's signature in 1730, and during his last illness. 


Chapter XIII 

Performances of Handel's music after his death His 
character Anecdotes. 

AFTER Handel's death, his fame, as is usually the case, 
increased enormously. His oratorios were constantly per- 
formed. The Messiah, as we have seen, added very con- 
siderably to the funds of the Foundling Hospital ; and 

~ in 1784 his birth was commemorated on an 

. f enormous scale. Under the conductorship of 

TT T 7 Joah Bates, an enthusiastic amateur, a band 
of 525 vocal and instrumental musicians, 1 
gave performances lasting five days in Westminster Abbey 
and the Pantheon. A Three Days' Festival had been 
advertised, but the demand for tickets was so enormous 
that it was found necessary to extend it to five days. 

The programmes were taken entirely from the works 
of the master ; Burney wrote an important " Sketch in 
Commemoration of Handel" ; and, after paying the expenses 
of the Festival, ^6000 was given to the Royal Society 
of Musicians and ^1000 to Westminster Hospital. The 

1 The band consisted of violins 95 ; violas 26 ; violoncellos 21 ; 
double basses 15 ; flutes 6 ; oboes 26 ; bassoons 26 ; double bassoon 
I ; trumpets 12 ; horns 12 ; trombones 6 ; drums 4 ; sopranos 59 ; 
altos 48 ; tenors 83 ; basses 84 (including 17 soloists) ; with an organ 
specially built for the occasion. 


Statue at Halle 

Performances of Works 

Festival was repeated at intervals during subsequent years 
until 1791, when the number of performers reached 

In 1825 a similar festival took place at York. The 
centenary of his death was celebrated in 1859 
at the Crystal Palace under Sir Michael Costa, 
with a choir of 2700 and an orchestra of 460, 
a large organ being built for the purpose. The success 
of this experiment was so great that it has since been 
repeated every three years under the name of the " Handel 

Handel's music was much admired in Germany. In 
1745 he was made the first honorary member of Mizler's 
Society for Musical Science which had been recently 
founded at Leipsic. Bach did not join the society till 
two years later. Most of Handel's operas were per- 
formed in Germany soon after they appeared ^ , 
in London, and after his death many of the ' A* * 

oratorios were given in that country, though 0r 
not so frequently as in England ; after a 
time, however, they seem to have been more or less neg- 
lected. Of late years, chiefly owing to the efforts of Dr 
Chrysander, who is doing for Handel what Mendelssohn 
and Sterndale Bennett did for Bach, the oratorios have 
been steadily winning their way back to public favour. 
The Zeitshrift der internationalen Musikgesellschaft for 
Oct. 1900, gives an interesting catalogue of performances 
of Handel's oratorios in various German towns from 1889 
to 1900. The Messiah has been given nineteen times; 
Deborah fifteen ; Hercules, Ads, Esther, Israel in Egypt, 
Judas Maccabaus, four times each ; "Utrecht "Jubilate three ; 
Samson and Saul twice each ; and the Cecilia Ode once , 



altogether sixty-two performances in eleven years, so that 
Germany must be now becoming fairly familiar with our 

Of Handel's personal character, the reader will pro- 
bably have observed that he was obstinate 
Personal , , ^ , . , c c 

and determined in the face of opposition ; 

honourable and upright in all money trans- 
actions. That he was overflowing with compassion to- 
wards the unfortunate is shown by the numerous per- 
formances he gave in the cause of charity, even when he 
himself was in difficulties. He was careful for widows 
and orphans. He was one of the founders of the Royal 
Society of Musicians. For its benefit he performed Ads 
and Galatea in 1740 ; he gave it his Parnasso in Festa, 
and bequeathed it ^1000. His abounding charity and 
uprightness of conduct show that his Lutheran religion was 
a reality with him, and that it affected his whole life. We 
have seen what his religious feeling was on his death- 

Like all gentlemen of the first half of the eigh- 
teenth century, he was in the habit of swearing a 
great deal. Modern writers have professed to be 
much shocked at this "profane" habit, quite forget- 
ting that what we call " bad language " was as general 
a habit in conversation as the " slang " which has 
taken its place at the present day. It is not at all im- 
possible that writers of the end of the twentieth century 
may be as much shocked at the "slang" and "bad 
English" of the nineteenth, as modern writers are at 
Handel's perfectly harmless "bad language." His temper 
was, like that of most musicians, very irritable, and was 
not improved by the unworthy treatment he received 


Quarrel with Smith 

from his enemies. But, except in one instance, he is 
not known to have borne ill-will against those with whom 
he had differences. The one instance is that of John 
Christopher Smith, his old college friend, who joined him 
at Anspach, and who for many years acted as his treasurer 
and concert agent. Smith's son, John Christopher, was 
sent to school in Soho Square, but at the age of thirteen, 
Handel, finding that he showed considerable musical 
talent, took him to his house, made him his pupil, and 
afterwards employed him as his copyist, and became a 
faithful friend to him. Meanwhile, Smith senior con- 
tinued to be Handel's treasurer till four years before the 
latter's death, when they went to Tunbridge together, and 
there quarrelled over some trivial matter. 

Handel then took young Smith by the hand, and said 
he was going to put his name in the place of that of his 
father in his will. Whereupon young Smith said that in 
that case he would never play for Handel again, for it 
would look as if he had undermined his father in Handel's 
favour. Handel relented, and increased the elder Smith's 
legacy from ^500 to ^2000; but the quarrel does not 
seem to have been made up in spite of this, for three 
weeks before Handel's death, he asked young Smith 
to receive the sacrament with him. Smith asked how 
he could communicate when he was at enmity with his 
former friend, whereupon Handel was immediately 
reconciled. 1 

1 "Anecdotes of Handel and Smith," by Rev. J. C. Coxe, 
1797. The account says that Handel was immediately reconciled and 
left Smith senior ^2400, having before given him ^"1000 and all his 
MS. music, etc. The original legacy of .500 was in reality increased 


It would seem, therefore, that Handel's sense of moral 
obligation was such that though he could not forgive, he 
would not deprive of his just reward the man who had 
served him so well. 

His personal appearance is described by Hawkins and 

Hawkins, vol. v. p. 412, says : "He was in his person a 
, large made, and very portly man. His gait, 

which was ever sauntering, was rather un- 
graceful, as it had in it somewhat of that 
rocking motion which distinguishes those whose legs are 
bowed. His features were finely marked, and the general 
cast of his countenance placid, bespeaking dignity attem- 
pered with benevolence, and every quality of the heart 
that has a tendency to beget confidence and insure 
esteem. Few of the pictures extant of him are to any 
tolerable degree likenesses, except one painted abroad 
from a print whereof the engraving given of him in this 
volume is taken. In the print of him by Houbraken, the 
features are too prominent; and in the mezzo-tint after 
Hudson there is a harshness of aspect to which his coun- 
tenance was a stranger ; the most perfect resemblance of 
him is the statue on his monument, and in that the true 
lineaments of his face are apparent." 

Burney, who frequently played the viola in his orchestra, 
describes his general look as somewhat heavy and sour ; 
but when he smiled it was like the sun flashing out of 

by ^150 ty codicil in 1756 ; three years, not three weeks, before 
the death. Schoelcher, p. 352, overlooking the above account, 
says that the MSS., etc., were bequeathed to his pupil, Christopher 
Smith. It is evident that they were bequeathed to the elder Smith, 
and inherited from him by the younger. 


Portrait by T. Hudson in the National Portrait Gallery 


a black cloud. He dressed handsomely in gold-laced 
coat, ruffles, 1 cocked hat, and sword. 

Anecdotes of Handel have been told over and over 
again, and are well known to his admirers, . . 
but we are obliged to repeat some of them 
here in order to make the account complete, and they 
throw interesting side lights on his character. 

He liked occasionally to take a boat, and go for a row 
on the Thames. There is an amusing account in the 
Somerset House Gazette, vol. i., 1823, by Ephraim 
Hardcastle, of a breakfast party, probably in 1751, to 
which Handel came uninvited with a " notable appetite " 
after having been on the water. Ephraim Hardcastle had 
an uncle named Zachary, a merchant, who, after he retired 
from business, lived in Paper Buildings in the Temple, 
and there received on intimate terms the most distinguished 
painters, poets, and musicians of his time. This Zachary 
Hardcastle had invited Pepusch, Arne, and Colley 
Gibber to breakfast at nine o'clock, and to accompany 
him to hear a competition for the post of organist at 
the Temple Church. While the company were awaiting 
Arne, a knock was heard at the door, and Handel entered. 

" What ! my dear friend Hardcastle ! you are merry 
by times ! What, and Mr Colley Gibbers and Doctor 
Pepusch ! Well, that is comical. Pray let me sit down 
a moment. 

"Upon my word, that is a picture of a ham. It is 
very bold of me to come and break my fast with you 
uninvited ; and I have brought along with me a notable 

1 Dr W. H. Cummings possesses one of these. 



appetite ; for the water of old Father Thames, is it not 
a fine bracer of the appetite ? " 

" Pray, did you come with oars or scullers, Mr 
Handel?" said Pepusch. 

" How can you demand of me that silly question, Dr 
Pepusch? What can it concern you whether I have one 
waterman or two watermans whether I pull out my purse 
for to pay one shilling or two ? Diavolo ! I cannot go 
here, I cannot go there, but someone shall send it to some 
newspaper, as how Mr George Frederick Handel did go 
sometimes last week to break his fast with Mr Zac. Hard- 
castle ; but it shall be all my fault if it shall be put in 
print, whether I was rowed by one waterman or by two 
watermans." l 

"Well, gentlemen," said Zachary, "it is ten minutes 
past nine. Shall we wait more for Dr Arne ? " 

" Let us give him another five minutes," said Colley 
Gibber ; " he is too great a genius to keep time." 

" Let us put it to the vote," said Dr Pepusch. 

" I will second your motion with all my heart," said 
Handel. " I will hold up my feeble hands for my old 
friend Gustus (Augustus), for I know not who I would 
wait for over and above my old rival, Master Tom 
(Thomas Pepusch). Only, with your permission, I will 
take a snack of your ham and a slice of French roll, or 
a modicum of chicken, for to tell you the honest fact, 
I am all but famished ; for I laid me down last night 
without my supper, at the instance of my physician ; for 
which I am not inclined to extend my fast any longer." 

Handel hated trivial questions, saying, " If a man cannot think 
but as a fool, let him keep his fool's tongue in his own fool's mouth." 



"If you please, do me the kindness to cut me a 
small slice of ham." 

Dr Arne was now announced, and the party began 

"Well, and how do you feel yourself, my dear sir?" 
said Arne. 

"Why, by the mercy of Heaven and the waters of 
Aix-la-Chapelle, and the attentions of my doctors and 
physicians and oculists, of late years, under Providence, 
I am surprisingly better, thank you kindly, Mr Gustus. 
And you have also been doing well of late, I am pleased 
to hear." 

" So, sir, I presume you are come to witness the trial 
of skill at the old Round Church? I understand the 
amateurs expect a pretty sharp contest," said Arne. 

" Contest ! " echoed Handel, laying down his knife 
and fork ; " yes, no doubt ; your amateurs have a passion 
for contest. Not what it was in our remembrance. Hey, 
my friend? Ha, ha, ha!" 

" No, sir, I am happy to say those days of envy and 
bickering and party feeling are gone and past. To be 
sure we had enough of such disgraceful warfare ; it lasted 
too long." 

"Why, yes, it did last too long; it bereft me of my 
poor limbs ; it did bereave me of what is the most 
precious gift of Him that made us and not we ourselves " 
(his reason). " And for what ? Why, for nothing in the 
world but the pleasure and pastime of them who having 
no wit, nor no want, set at loggerheads such men as live 


by their wits, to worry and destroy one another as wild 
beasts in the Coliseum in the time of the Romans." 

" Gustus, do not you remember as it was almost only 
of yesterday, that she-devil, Cuzzoni, and that other 
precious daughter of iniquity, Beelzebub's spoiled child, 
the pretty-faced Faustina ? O ! the mad rage that I have 
to answer for, what with one and the other of these fine 
ladies' airs and graces. Again, do you not remember that 
upstart puppy, Senesino, and the coxcomb, Farinelli ? 
Next, again, my some-time notable rival, Master Bonon- 
cini, and old Porpora ? ha, ha, ha ! all at war with me, 
and all at war with themselves. Such a confusion of 
rivalships, and double-facedness, and hypocrisy, and 
malice, that would make a comical subject for a poem 
in rhymes, or a piece for the stage, as I hope to be 

The narrative ends here. It gives an interesting pic- 
ture of Handel's private intercourse with his friends. 

Dr Morell having complained that the music of one 
of his airs did not suit the words, Handel lost his 
temper and cried out, " What, sir, you teach me music ? 
The music, sir, is good music. It is your words is bad. 
Hear the passage again. There; go you, make words 
to that music." A singer found fault with his method of 
accompanying, saying that if he accompanied him in that 
way he would jump from the stage on to the harpsichord 
and smash it. " Oh," said Handel, " you will jump, will 
you ? Then let me know when you will jump and I will 
advertise it in the bills, and I shall get more people to 
see you jump than to hear you sing." When in Dublin, 
Dubourg, the famous violinist, having to play an extem- 



pore cadenza, had wandered far away from the key, and 
getting bewildered was at some difficulty in returning. At 
length, when he arrived at the orthodox shake, which 
always terminated a cadenza, Handel said in a voice 
which was heard all over the theatre, " You are well come 
at home, Mr Dubourg." 

Handel was twice nearly married ; on the first occasion 
the mother of the lady objected to her daughter marrying 
a " mere fiddler." On the death of the mother, the father 
came forward and said that there was now no objection 
to the marriage, but Handel, whose professional pride 
had been outraged, said it was now too late. It is said 
that the lady went into a decline and died. On another 
occasion he had wished to marry a lady of means and 
position, who, however, made it a stipulation that he 
should give up his profession. This condition he naturally 
refused, and remained single. 

Handel, like all musicians of the first rank, looked 
upon his art as something higher than a mere amusement 
and recreation. After the first performance in London 
of the Messiah, Lord Kinnoul complimented him on the 
" noble entertainment " he had given the audience. " I 
should be sorry, my lord," said Handel, " if I have only 
succeeded in entertaining them ; I wished to make them 
better." There is no doubt that the composition of the 
Messiah affected him deeply. He was found sobbing 
while writing the music of " He was despised and rejected 
of men," and his servant, when bringing him his chocolate, 
was often astonished " to see his master's tears mixing 
with the ink as he penned his divine compositions." 

The effect on the London audience of the unison 
passage in the " Hallelujah " chorus, " For the Lord God 



Omnipotent reigneth," was electrical ; the whole audience, 
with the King, rose to its feet, and remained standing to 
the end of the number. 

After he had lost his sight, his surgeon, Mr Sharp, 
recommended Stanley, the blind organist, as a person 
who, from his wonderful powers of memory, would be 
able to take his place at the organ in oratorios. Handel 
burst into a loud laugh, and said : " Mr Sharp, have you 
never read the Scriptures ? Do you not remember that 
if the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the 

Burney says he was impetuous, rough, and peremptory 
in his manners and conversation, but totally devoid of 
ill-nature or malevolence ; there was an original humour 
and pleasantry in his most lively sallies of anger and 
impatience, which, with his broken English, were extremely 

He was reserved towards everybody, but extremely 
polite. In his most hastily written scores, he never failed 
to put " Mr," " Signor," " Signora," before the names of 
the singers to whom the various parts were allotted. He 
was well read, and had a competent knowledge of Latin, 
English, French, and Italian, besides his own language. 
He used all five languages in the dates, etc., of his com- 
positions ; thus the oratorio Jephtha is " angefangen, 2 1 
Jan r . 1751 " ; Jephtha enters "solus" ; the English word 
" Symphony " is applied to the instrumental piece in the 
second act. The beginning of Act 3 is dated in French, 
"Juin 18"; and its completion in Italian, "Agost 30, 
1751." For the last twenty years of his life he always 
used astronomical signs to indicate the days of the week. 
When excited his language was most amusingly polyglot. 



A clergyman named Felton, an amateur composer, had 
published a set of organ concertos, and finding them well 
received, he endeavoured to get Handel's name on the 
subscription list of a second set. The request was con- 
veyed to him one morning while he was being shaved. 
Handel got up in a fury, and, with his face covered 
with lather, said, " Damn yourself and go to the 
devil ! a parson make concertos ? why he no make 
sermons ? " 

As his old friends died off, he made few new ones, and 
retired more and more from society. He then acquired 
a habit of talking loudly to himself so that he could be 
overheard. In Hyde Park he was heard commenting on 
a pupil who had run away from him : " The devil ; the 
father was deceived, the mother was deceived, but I was 
not deceived ; he is a damned scoundrel, and good for 

Of Gluck he said, " He knows no more of counterpoint 
than my cook." This cook was Gustavus Waltz, who 
afterwards became a good bass singer and a violoncellist. 
He sang the part of Polyphemus in Acts, and with 
Reinhold the duet in Israel, "The Lord is a man of 
war." An engraving of a portrait of him by Hauck, in the 
possession of Mr Taphouse of Oxford, is given in the 
Musical Times of December 14, 1893. 

Handel had as clear a conception as Beethoven of the 
distinction that comes from greatness of mind, as opposed 
to that which comes from mere birth, or social position, 
or wealth. " Such as are not acquainted with his personal 
character," says Hawkins, " will wonder at his seeming 
temerity in continuing so long an opposition which tended 
but to impoverish him ; but he was a man of a firm and 

N 193 


intrepid spirit, no way a slave to the passion of avarice, 
and would have gone greater lengths than he did rather 
than submit to those 1 whom he ever looked upon as his 

" Kings and princes," said Beethoven, " can, to be sure, 
make professors, privy councillors, etc., and confer titles 
and orders, but they cannot make great men, minds 
which rise above the common herd : these they must not 
pretend to make, and therefore these must be held in 
honour ! " 2 

At a private rehearsal of a duet in Judas Maccab(zus y 
Burney, who was accompanying, came in for a tremendous 
explosion of wrath, but summoned up courage to suggest 
that the MS. might perhaps be wrong. Handel instantly, 
with the greatest humility, said, " I beg your pardon, I am 
a very odd dog, Master Smith 3 is to blame." 

Carestini sent back the air " Verdi prati " in Alcina, 
saying it did not suit his voice. Handel, who knew 
better than anyone else how to suit a particular voice, 
lost his temper, rushed to Carestini's house and said, 
" You dog ! don't I know better than yourself what 
is best for you to sing? If you will not sing all 
the song what I give you, I will not pay you one 

If the Prince of Wales was late in coming to a concert, 
or if the ladies of the Court talked during it, his rage used 
to become uncontrollable, and he would swear and call 
names in the presence of royalty ; whereupon the Princess 

1 i.e. the nobility. 

2 Lewes, "Life of Goethe," vol. ii. p. 370. 

3 Smith, it will be remembered, made all the fair copies of 
Handel's works. 


Practical Joke 

would say to the talkative ones, " Hush, hush, Handel is 
in a passion." l 

During an oratorio he was very excitable; he would 
utter the word " Chorus " in a most formidable voice, as 
a warning for them to rise. He wore an enormous white 
wig, which nodded or vibrated when things went well ; 
when it did not nod, observers knew that he was out of 

He was extremely sensitive to sound, and could not 
tolerate the tuning of the orchestra, which was therefore 
done before he arrived at the theatre. A foolish practical 
joker one evening got into the orchestra and untuned all 
the instruments. The Prince of Wales arrived, and 
Handel gave the signal to begin con spirito^ when such 
a discord arose, that the enraged musician started from 
his seat, overturned a double bass, seized a kettledrum, 
threw it at the leader of the orchestra, and lost his wig. 
He advanced bareheaded to the front of the orchestra, 
but was so choked with passion that he could not speak. 
Here he stood staring and stamping amidst general con- 
vulsions of laughter, until the Prince personally, with 

1 The detestable habit of looking upon instrumental music as a mere 
cover for conversation, which even now has not died out in certain 
social circles in England, seems formerly to have obtained in 
various parts of Europe. In Italy, for instance, poor Corelli was 
once so disturbed by it that he laid down his violin, saying he " feared 
to interrupt the conversation " ; and Beethoven, while playing a duet 
with Ries at the house of Count Browne, at Vienna, being disturbed 
by the conversation of a young nobleman with a lady, suddenly lifted 
Ries' hand from the instrument, saying in a loud voice, " I play no 
longer for such hogs." This has been brought against him as a breach 
of good manners, but surely the insult to the musicians was at least 
an equal breach of good manners. 


much difficulty, appeased his wrath and prevailed on him 
to resume his seat. 

A tradition states that one day dining at a tavern, he 
ordered dinner for three, and, getting impatient, asked 
why it was not brought up. The landlord said he was 
waiting for the company. " I am the company," said 
Handel, " bring up the dinner prestissimo." 

He had a great liking for Father Smith's organ at St 
Paul's, and at one time used often to play the concluding 
voluntary at afternoon service. He then would retire with 
the painter Goupy, Hunter, a scarlet dyer, and his secretary, 
J. C. Smith, to the Queen's Arms tavern, where he would 
play the harpsichord while he smoked and drank beer. 

Apropos of his organ playing, an amusing story is told 
of his endeavouring to " play the people out " at a country 
church. The people were so lost in admiration that they 
would not go ; whereupon the country organist getting 
impatient, said, " You cannot play them out, let me show 
you how " ; and on his taking Handel's place at the organ, 
the congregation rapidly disappeared. 

The Messiah was not published during his lifetime, 
but he gave MS. copies to the Dublin Charitable Musical 
Society, the Royal Society of Musicians, and the Found- 
ling Hospital. The Governors of the last named institu- 
tion, misunderstanding the purport of the gift, thought that 
they were to have the exclusive right of performing it for 
ever. They drew up a bill to be presented to Parliament 
confirming their legal rights in this matter, and showed it 
to Handel, who became furious. " The devil ! " said he, 
" for what shall the Foundlings put mine oratorio in the 
Parliament ? The devil ! Mine music shall not go to the 


Fugue Subject 

He took immense pains in preparing his concertos for 
performance ; every key of his harpsichord was by constant 
practice hollowed out like the bowl of a spoon. This is 
supposed to be the instrument now at Windsor Castle, 
but its keyboards have been renewed. 

When the rupture took place between Bononcini and 
the Academy of Ancient Music, Dr Greene, who stuck to 
Bononcini, left it, and took with him the boys of St Paul's 
Cathedral. He then established concerts at the Devil 
Tavern, near Temple Bar ; whereupon Handel said, " Poor 
Dr Greene has gone to the devil." 

The fugue subject in the overture to Muzio Scavola is 
in G minor, the answer being, therefore, properly in D 
minor, and involving a somewhat harsh progression from 
G to F natural. Handel boldly wrote F$ in the answer, 
and was at once condemned by the critics as having 
broken the rules of fugue. Geminiani, hearing this accu- 
sation, exclaimed: "True, but that semitone is worth 
a world." 

Amongst the small-minded attacks of his enemies was 
a paragraph in some of the daily papers in 1753 announc- 
ing that Mr Handel was preparing his own Funeral 
Anthem, to be performed in the chapel of the Foundling 
Hospital. The Governors, being very indignant at this, 
wrote to him, hoping that one who had done so much for 
the charity might be spared for a long life. 

He undertook the entire education of the son of his 
friend and treasurer, John Christopher Smith, sending 
him to ' Mr Clare's Academy in Soho Square, and, after 
himself teaching him the rudiments of music, engaging 
Pepusch and Roseingrave, organist of St George's, 
Hanover Square, to continue his musical education 



when he himself had no longer leisure to give him 

Handel not only made use of the works of other com- 
posers, but availed himself of any source that might be 
useful. For instance, some of his songs were suggested 
by the notes of street criers ; a piece of music paper 
among the Fitzwilliam MSS. contains a tune used by 
one John Shaw, to the words, " Buoy any matches ; my 
matches buoy," evidently taken down with a view to 
future use. 

Of English organists he said : " When I first came I 
found among the English many good players, but no 
composers ; now they are all composers and no players." 

When George III. was a child, Handel, noticing that 
he listened very attentively to his harpsichord playing, 
asked him if he liked the music. The little Prince was 
very enthusiastic in his love for it, whereupon Handel 
said : " A good boy, a good boy ; you shall protect my 
fame when I am dead." 

One of the stories told by his enemies is to the effect 
that Handel having invited some of the principal per- 
formers in the oratorio to dine with him at Brook Street, 
often cried out : " Oh ! I have the thought," and left the 
table. One of the company at last peeped through the 
keyhole, and found that the composer was not writing 
down his " thoughts," but enjoying a bottle of Burgundy, 
of which he had received a hamper as a present from 
Lord Radnor, while his guests were given port. Schcel- 
cher does not believe this story ; but it is at any rate on a 
par with the story of Goupy the painter being treated in 
a similar way. Handel was just as human as any other 
man, and it is well known that one of his failings was an 


Frederick the Great 

insatiable delight in the pleasures of the table. That he did 
not share his Burgundy with his guests was certainly a gross 
breach of good manners ; but faults in manners are not 
confined to great geniuses. They have been known even 
in those who, having no brains, and no absorbing work, 
are in a better position to give proper attention to the 
ordinary civilities of life. 

He, like Beethoven after him, had little respect for 
potentates as such. When the King of Prussia, Frederick 
the Great, was about to visit Aix-la-Chapelle, and had 
expressed a wish to hear Handel, he quitted the place 
rather than expose himself to solicitations he had deter- 
mined not to comply with, or to commands which he 
could not resist. He had a true artist's horror of ex- 
hibiting his powers as a mere curiosity. 


Chapter XIV 


THERE is no doubt that Handel's Italian operas were 
superior to anything that had been composed by Italians 
at the time they came into existence. Handel spent 
several years in Italy as a student ; knew more about the 
voice than most singing masters ; had a strong sense of 
dramatic fitness ; and, in addition, a colossal genius for 
original composition. But it was not only his power of 
composition that helped him ; he had also a most re- 
markable talent for adapting himself to circumstances, 
and for producing real works of art under most unfavour- 
able conditions. 

In order to understand what the conditions were, it is 
necessary to inquire into the state of Italian opera at that 
time. The first attempts at producing true dramatic 
music, as opposed to the old madrigal and other more or 
less contrapuntal forms, had been made about the year 
1600, and had resulted in the aria for solo voice, and 
the recitative, or narrative form of music. The move- 
ment rapidly spread over Italy, where numerous opera- 
houses sprang up in every town. It was taken up by the 
Courts of Germany and France, and in course of time 
reached England. 

The opera was cultivated in Italy by the people, but 



in other countries it became merely an expensive amuse- 
ment for Royalty, and an aristocracy who, being idle, 
were ever seeking some new excitement. 

From singers, good voice, delivery and expression, 
though indispensable, were not the only essentials de- 
manded. It was absolutely necessary that they should 
have enormous powers of execution; that they should 
not only be able to sing the so-called " divisions " written 
for them by composers, but that they should also be able 
to invent others for themselves ; add the " ornaments " 
which were then universal in slow movements ; and be 
able to shake clearly and rapidly on any note. The 
form of the opera soon became highly conventionalised, 
with a view to giving each character an opportunity for 
display. There were almost invariably three acts, each 
divided into scenes ; every scene had to end with an aria ; 
the audience, who only came to hear its favourite singers, 
would not tolerate choruses, and the only place for a 
so-called chorus was at the end of the last act, when all 
the characters had to appear at once, and sing some 
simple quartet or trio (doubling the parts if necessary), 
usually in the form of a gavotte, or other dance time, 
though in some cases it took the form of a madrigal. Duets, 
trios and quartets were only introduced when absolutely 
necessary to carry on the action ; and the singing in two, 
three or four-part harmony, even in a duet, trio, or quartet, 
was avoided as much as possible. Everything was done 
to exalt the solo voice, the only thing the audience 
cared to hear. 

The opera was obliged under all circumstances to end 
happily, never mind how many tragic situations might 
have occurred. This is referred to in the Beggar? Opera^ 



where the Player and Beggar enter at the moment that 
the chief character is about to be executed, and arrange 
that the opera must end happily : " in drama it is no 
matter how things are brought about ; do you, rabble 
there, run and cry a reprieve ; let the prisoner be brought 
back to his wives; all this to comply with the taste of 
the town." 

The "scenes" consisted of recitative followed by an 
aria, and the arias were of several classes : aria cantabile, 
a slow movement, into which the singer was expected to 
throw pathos, and to introduce extempore ornamentation ; 
aria di portamento, of a more strongly marked rhythm 
than the former ; aria parlante, expressing violent 
emotion ; aria di bravura, or d'agilita, intended to ex- 
hibit the powers of the singer in the display of difficult 
" divisions " ; aria d* imitazione, in which a flute or a 
horn imitated birds or the sounds of the chase, etc. ; be- 
sides many sub-divisions of these classes. 

The performers were the prima donna (first woman), a 
soprano ; seconda donna (second woman), soprano or con- 
tralto ; terza donna (third woman), contralto ; primo uomo 
(first man), who was obliged to be an artificial soprano ; 
secondo uomo (second man), an artificial soprano or con- 
tralto ; terza uomo (third man), tenor ; ultima parte, when 
employed, was a bass. 

The opera began with an overture, the form of which 
had been established by Lully, and was adopted by Handel 
for all his operas and oratorios. It had nothing in com- 
mon with the modern overture, in which a foretaste of the 
music of the opera itself is given. It consisted of a 
maestoso movement, followed by an allegro, generally in 
the form of a light fugue, and frequently a third movement 



in the form of a minuet, gavotte or gigue, or even a suc- 
cession of dances, followed the fugue. 

Nearly all the arias took the form invented by Ales- 
sandro Scarlatti, namely, a long section in the principal 
key, followed by a shorter section in a related key, and 
then a repetition of the whole of the first section. Each 
performer had to sing one or more songs in each of the 
three acts ; no performer might sing two arias in succes- 
sion ; nor might two arias of the same class be sung one 
after the other. Recitative was either secco (dry), that 
is, with only the basses and harpsichord for accompani- 
ment, or stromentato, i.e. accompanied by the strings. 
The prima donna and primo uomo had each a " scena " 
to themselves in the course of the opera. 1 

Singers, petted and spoilt by an idle aristocracy, and 
being as a rule persons of little culture, had become over- 
bearing and conceited beyond description in their be- 
haviour towards composers, who were expected to humour 
their every whim. The voice was with them everything ; 
the music was simply a vehicle for its display ; dramatic 
requirements were practically put aside in order to allow 
them every opportunity for gaining applause. Jealousies 
were frequent. One of Handel's cleverest devices was 
the writing of the duet in which the two prime donne^ 
Cuzzoni and Faustina, were given each an absolutely equal 
part, so that neither could say that she had sung second 
to the other. 

Handel was not a reformer like Gluck and Wagner. 

He took the opera as he found it, and simply 

embellished it by means of his great genius. He 

1 For further particulars, see Rockstro's article on "Opera" in 

Grove's "Dictionary of Music." 



was content to work on the forms that he found 
established, trusting for success to the employment of 
the best singers and instrumentalists that could be 
obtained. He paid his singers handsomely; and when 
he could no longer afford this, in the time of his 
bankruptcy, he somehow managed that at any-rate his 
instrumentalists should still be the best obtainable, and 
that they should be well paid for their services. We have 
the names of some of them : Matthew Dubourg, who was 
his first violinist, and who had led the band at Dublin 
for him, was a pupil of Geminiani, and a famous player ; 
Valentine Snow, his first trumpeter, for whom his many 
difficult trumpet obbligatos were written ; Caporale, his 
first violoncello, is mentioned by Fetis for his beauty of 
tone ; Weidemann, his flautist ; Clegg, probably a pupil of 
Dubourg, and in his time a well-known violinist ; Powell, a 
harpist ; the brothers Castrucci, violinists, pupils of Corelli, 
and who also played the violetta marina in Orlando! 
Lampe, his fagottist, for whom Handel is said to have 
caused a double bassoon to be made by Stanesby, was 
also a composer, and was employed by Rich to write two 
operas for the Covent Garden Theatre, Amalia, 1732, and 
Roger et Jean ; but he was best known by two burlesques, 
The Dragon of Wantley, and Margery. He was also the 
author of a treatise on Thoroughbass. 

The orchestration of Handel's operas would probably 
seem exceedingly monotonous to an audience accustomed 
to the brilliancy of modern instrumentation. Bach wrote 
counterpoint for each individual instrument and voice, 
and his cantatas are, as a rule, in as many contrapuntal 

1 Fetis says that one of the Castrucci brothers served as a model foi 
Hogarth's caricature, "The Enraged Musician." 


Use of Orchestra 

parts as there are instruments or voices employed. HandePs 
use of the orchestra was different. Laying a foundation 
of strings and harpsichord, to which he added oboes, often 
in unison with the violins, and bassoons with the string 
basses, he only introduces other instruments for special 
effects. Thus in a march, trumpets and drums are invari- 
ably used ; horns were also occasionally added. In a 
pathetic song, flauti, i.e. ti\zflute-a-bec, would be employed. 
In other places the flauta traverse (the modern flute) ; 
the viola da gamba, theorbo, harp, organ (it will be re- 
membered that he owned a large organ which stood in 
Covent Garden Theatre), violetta marina (a kind of 
viol d'amour, with sympathetic strings) ; viola dt braccio 
(the ordinary viola) ; violetta haute contre, and tattle 
(names for first and second viola) ; cornet (a wooden 
instrument covered with leather, with a trumpet mouth- 
piece) ; flageolet (a small flute -a -bee); recorder (bass 

Often he would make all the violins play in unison, 
with nothing but the chords on the harpsichord between 
them and the bass ; at other times he would use violas 
and basses only, as in " Habbiate pazienza " in Almira. 
Again he would divide his violins into two, three, four, 
or even five parts, and his violas also into several. 

In the same opera, in order to give due effect to a song 
in which Fernando laughs at Osman for having his sword 
snatched away, the accompaniment consists of two oboes 
and a bassoon only. A great deal of expense was lavished 
on the machinery J of the theatre, and instrumental bands 

1 In Rinaldo a black cloud appears covered with horrible monsters 
spouting fire and smoke, with a great noise : and we have already 
referred to the live birds in this opera. 



frequently appeared on the stage. In the third act of 
Almira, a band of hautbois, a band of trumpets and 
drums, a band of cymbals, drums and " crossflutes," a 
hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe, march in succession across the 
stage. Frequently an aria is accompanied by violins, or 
even the whole orchestra, in unison with the voice, and 
no bass. Solos for oboe, bassoon, violin, violoncello, 
often occur in the songs, and demand considerable skill. 
There must have been a good solo violoncellist at Florence 
in 1707, for there is a difficult violoncello part in Rodrigo. 
The style, as we have seen, is like that of Corelli. 

Handel was fond of imitative effects; the jumping of 
frogs, the " Hailstone " Chorus, and the plague of flies in 
Israel in Egypt, are well-known examples. In Rodrigo 
he represents the words " La mia constanza " (my con- 
stancy) by a note sustained through nearly six bars by the 
voice, with an elaborate violin accompaniment. Handel, 
like Bach, felt the limitations of unequally tempered keyed 
instruments ; he had no hesitation in modulating as far 
afield as he wished, but took care to silence the harpsi- 
chord or organ, leaving the strings alone to play in un- 
usual keys. 

In Agrippina he first divides his violins into three 
parts Violino I., Violino II., Violino III. and uses 
muted violins with pizzicato basses and two flutes, which 
effect was also used by Bach in his cantata, Freue dich, 
erlb'ste Schaar. In the same opera he extemporised on 
the harpsichord in the ritornels of one of the songs ; he 
afterwards wrote down the music of these extempore pieces, 
and they are to be found in the Fitzwilliam Museum. 

The well-known march in Rinaldo is scored for no less 
than four trumpets, in addition to the strings, oboes and 


An Orchestral Effect 

drums. Handel was very fond of the trumpet, and never 
lost an opportunity of introducing it. In // Pastor Fido 
the violono grosso, an exceptionally large double bass, 
appears for the first time, and has solo passages, besides 
a duet with the bassoon. In Radamisto horns occur for 
the first time, and are frequently used in all subsequent 

The aria Affanni del pensier in Ottone, so frequently 
alluded to as one of the most beautiful songs, owes its 
effect as much to its delicate orchestration as to its melody. 
We quote a few bars : 


Violin Solo 

Violino II. 



senza Cembalo 
e Contrabassi 
e Bassons 

Ob n r , ^ ^ | 1 , 



In Giulio Cesare four horns in two keys are used, thus 
anticipating modern custom. The harp, viola-da-gamba 
and theorbo have very florid obbligato parts in music 
prepared by Cleopatra to soften the heart of Caesar. 

In the second version of Rinaldo two harpsichords 
were used, and in Orlando two of the second violin 
players were ordered to strengthen the first violins in 
certain passages. In Terpsichore the theorbo played with 
"Les orgues doucement"; apparently there was more 
than one organ in the theatre. In Giustino a bass flute 
is employed. The popular " Largo " is a song in Serse, 
"Ombra mai fu." In Deidamia a march is played on board 
a ship, in which Nestor and Ulysses are about to embark, 
by a band of horns, trumpets and drums. 

The foregoing account of Handel's orchestration may 
appear dry and technical to the amateur reader, but we 



have given it in order to show that Handel was as skilful 
in his use of the orchestra as in his counterpoint. The 
operas were mounted with the greatest possible brilliancy ; 
the orchestra was large and varied ; and the composer was 
just as careful in the choice of suitable instrumentation as 
any modern composer could be. 

His operas have disappeared from the stage for nearly 
a century and a half, and admirers have suggested that a 
revival of some of them might be attempted. But such 
an attempt would almost certainly fail to attract the 
public, however interesting it might be to the few. 
Handel, in his operas, was essentially a man of his own 
times. He made no effort to advance the art; he 
simply took the forms he found ready-made, and 
adorned them with all the beauty and solidity that he 
was capable of producing ; and as he was head and 
shoulders above his contemporaries in the power of 
producing beautiful music, his operas were head and 
shoulders above those of others of the same date in 
this respect. He did not anticipate future develop- 
ments ; his effort was to attract the then public by the 
best possible art that he could give them. The subject 
matter of the operas would prove another bar to their 
acceptance. They, for the most part, treat of the not 
always very edifying loves and doings of gods and 
goddesses, Roman emperors, etc. ; and though many 
will flock to see Alcestis performed in the Greek of 
Euripides, or Julius Casar in the English of Shakes- 
peare, it is hardly likely that they would care to see 
the same subjects treated with all the conventionality 
and trivial formality of an eighteenth century entertain- 

o 209 

A third objection would be that the vocal parts were 
written to suit the powers of special singers, and were 
invariably altered when it was necessary that they should 
be sung by others. It is scarcely possible that singers 
could be found to execute the more difficult songs now- 
a-days ; and even if they could, Handel is no longer 
among us to alter and adapt his music to their special 
powers. Again, his delicate instrumentation would be 
entirely lost, for where are the players to be found for 
the violetta marina, the gamba, the theorbo, etc. ? 

Many of the recitatives and songs are of such beauty 
that they can be heard with great pleasure singly, as 
concert pieces, but we cannot conceive a modern audience 
tolerating a succession of some twenty or thirty of them 
on the stage in one evening. 


Chapter XV 

The Oratorios Handel's use of the works of other composers The 
Serenatas, Concertos Obsolete instruments Organs with pedals 
Chamber music Handel accused of noise The origin of "Additional 

FROM what has been said in the foregoing chapter, it 
might be inferred that we considered that Handel's 
music was out of date and antiquated. This we believe is 
true of the operas as a whole, but not of single pieces from 
them. With the oratorios we are on entirely different 
ground. To Handel an oratorio meant an opera on a 
sacred or secular subject, sung without scenery and 
without action, and therefore relying entirely on the 
povver ot the music to attract the audience. For it 
must always be remembered that Handel was not, like 
Bach, writing exactly as his genius drove him, and caring 
little for whether he pleased his congregation or not, as 
long as he reached his own lofty ideal. Handel also had 
the loftiest possible ideal ; but it was to attract the public 
by the very best music they were capable of appreciating. 
In oratorio then he set to work in quite a different way 
from opera. The more or less obsolete instruments were 
discarded, and he relied on the orchestra of violins, 
violas, violoncellos, flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, 
trombones, horns and drums, 1 besides the organ and 
1 This is the modern orchestra the clarionets only being omitted. 


harpsichord. He no longer made journeys to Italy to 
find the latest attraction in the way of singers ; and 
that abomination, so attractive to the aristocracy, the 
artificial soprano, soon ceased to be employed. The 
operas depended on soloists for their effect ; -the oratorios 
on massive choruses. Moreover, the subjects were for 
the most part taken from Scripture history instead of 
from classical antiquity ; and with a people by whom 
the Bible is studied so much as by the English, these 
dramatic works began to attract the general public, even 
if the aristocracy held aloof from them. They were no 
longer merely idle and expensive amusements ; they were 
chiefly performed in Lent, and struck deeply into the 
religious feeling of the people. 

In the dramatic oratorios the hero appears and sings 
in person, as Samson, Judas, etc., and is surrounded by 
other characters. The Messiah, on the other hand, is an 
epic poem, in which the singers describe the events 
impersonally. Although treating of rtie same s^h^ct as 
Bach's Passion Music, the construction of the Messiah is 
entirely different. In Bach's Passion an " Evangelist " 
narrates the events, which are emphasised by the chorus, 
who represent Jews, apostles, etc., and the Saviour him- 
self speaks : the music for the soloists and the congrega- 
tion represents the emotion that is aroused by the events 
narrated. In the Messiah the congregation take no part, 
the soloists are impersonal, and they and the chorus carry 
on the narrative by means of passages of Scripture bearing 
on the story. The Passion Music is a religious service : 
the Messiah is a sermon. 

The overture, in E minor, is in the same form as all the 
other operatic and oratorio overtures, but it is of an 


The Messiah 

exceedingly grave character. The fugue was at first 
objected to as not sufficiently dignified for its position, 
but succeeding generations have discovered that it, like 
all Handel's religious works, particularly expresses the 
pious exaltation of mind that the audience naturally 
experience. It is said that the overture concluded with a 
minuet in E major, when played apart from the oratorio. 
A tenor voice sings prophetic passages from the book of 
Isaiah, telling of the coming events : " Comfort ye my 
people, saith your God. Prepare ye the way of the 
Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 
Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and hill 
made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places 
plain " ; then the chorus answers, " And the glory of the 
Lord shall be revealed." A bass voice now sings, from 
the prophets Haggai and Malachi : " Thus saith the Lord 
of Hosts ; I will shake the heavens and the earth ; and 
the desire of all nations shall come : The Lord whom ye 
seek shall suddenly come to his temple. But who may 
abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand 
when he appeareth ? " The chorus sing, " He shall 
purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the 
Lord an offering in righteousness." The prophecy is 
concluded with another passage from Isaiah, sung by a 
contralto voice in recitative and accompanied by the 
organ : " Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, 
and shall call his name Emmanuel ; God with us." 

Prophecy now ceases for a time; the singer and the 
chorus address the prophet, saying, " Get thee up into 
the high mountain ; lift up thy voice with strength ; say 
unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God." 

A bass voice now foretells that " Darkness shall cover 



the earth, and gross darkness the people ; but the Lord 
shall arise, and His glory shall be seen upon thee, and 
the Gentiles shall come to thy light. The people that 
walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they 
that dwell in the shadow of death, upon them hath the 
light shined." The chorus sjjigs, "JFjQj jino_us a Child 
is born, unto us a Son is given." The fervour excited by 
these words finds its expression in the well-known florid 
passages of the chorus, which are to be sung mezzoforte ; 
while at the words, "Wonderful Counsellor, the mighty 
God ! " the full orchestra and organ enter fortissimo. Pro- 
phecy is now concluded, and we are taken to the plains of 
Bethlehem, where shepherds are heard playing one of the 
airs used by the " pifferari " of south Italy at Christmas. 
An angel appears who brings them good tidings : " For unto 
you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." 
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the 
heavenly host, praising God, and saying, " Glory to God 
in the highest, and peace on earth." A soprano air 
follows bidding the daughter of Zion rejoice : " Behold, 
thy King cometh ; He is the righteous Saviour ; He shall 
speak peace to the heathen." "The eyes of the blind 
shall be opened; the ears of the deaf unstopped; the 
dumb shall sing ; He shall feed His flock as a shepherd. 
Come unto Him ye that are laden, and ye shall find rest 
unto your souls." The chorus sing, " His yoke is easy, 
His burthen is light." This ends Part I. 

Part II. brings us into the presence of the Saviour. 
The chorus, in a solemn largo, bids us " Behold the Lamb 
of God that taketh away the sin of the world " ; the con- 
tralto voice describes in heart-rending accents how " He 
was despised and rejected of men ; a Man of sorrows and 


The Messiah 

acquainted with grief." The chorus, always in solemn 
largO) sings, " Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried 
our sorrows : the chastisement of our peace was upon 
Him " ; then, in a powerful fugue, " and with His stripes 
we are healed." Another chorus follows: "All we like 
sheep have gone astray ; and the Lord hath laid on Him 
the iniquity of us all." The tenor sings, " All they that 
see Him laugh Him to scorn " ; the chorus in mocking 
accents follows with " He trusted in God that He would 
deliver Him ; let Him deliver Him if He delight in Him." 
A tenor recitative describes how "Thy rebuke hath 
broken His heart : He looked for some to have pity 
on Him, but there was no man ; neither found He any 
to comfort Him. He was cut off out of the land of 
the living." 

Now comes the soprano solo bringing comfort, " But 
Thou didst not leave His soul in hell, nor didst Thou suffer 
Thy holy one to see corruption." The chorus hereupon 
take up the joyful strain, " Lift up your heads, O ye gates, 
and the King of Glory shall come in : let all the angels 
of God worship Him." The catastrophe is over; the 
Saviour has risen and ascended to heaven. The bass 
sings, " Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity 
captive, and received gifts for men." Now follow the 
good tidings to the Gentile world. "The Lord gave 
the Word ; great was the company of the preachers." 
The soprano voice comments, "How beautiful are the 
feet of them that preach the gospel of peace." The 
chorus sing, "Their sound is gone out into all lands, 
unto the ends of the world." 

But the world is not yet ready to receive the glad 
tidings. The magnificent bass aria " Why do the nations 



so furiously rage together," with its tumultuous accompani- 
ment, well represents the anger of the rulers of the earth, 
who " rise up and take counsel together against the 
Lord and His anointed." The chorus in their turn take 
counsel against the rulers : " Let us break their bonds 
asunder, and cast away their yokes from us." The tenor 
voice addresses the Saviour : " Thou shalt break them 
with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's 
vessel." The climax is reached; the heathen are sub- 
dued, and the chorus burst into shouts of " Hallelujah, 
for the Lord Omnipotent reigneth ; the kingdom of this 
world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His 
Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever." This 
ends the second part. The work that the Saviour came 
to do is accomplished. It is now for man to do his 

Part III. opens with the confession of faith, " I know 
that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the 
latter day upon the earth : For now is Christ risen from 
the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep." 

" Since by man came death, by man came also the re- 
surrection from the dead ... in Christ shall all be made 

How this is to be brought about is described in the 
bass solo with its magnificent trumpet obbligato, " The 
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised 

The chorus sing "Thanks be to God who giveth us the 
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," and the oratorio 
ends with a paean of praise, " Worthy is the Lamb that 
was slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom and 
strength, and honour and blessing " ; followed by one of 


The Messiah 

the greatest masterpieces of musical art, the "Amen" 

The Messiah towers above all the other oratorios of 
Handel in the estimation of the English people, and the 
reason is not far to seek. The English, whatever their 
faults, are a religious race, and in this work they find the 
highest ideals of the Christian religion set forth and en- 
hanced by music, which in its strength, its sincerity, and 
its entire fitness to the subject, appeals to learned and 
unlearned, rich and poor, with equal force. The mas- 
sive choruses, the powerful solos and recitative in which 
the highest skill of composer and performer are called 
forth, drive home to every hearer the truths of his religion 
more powerfully than the finest oratory can do. 

Handel wrote his Messiah in the very midst of his 
misery and bankruptcy. The "things of this world" 
seemed to have no effect on the workings of his genius, 
or it is possible that they drove him to concentrate his 
powers more than ever on his lofty subject. That he was 
deeply moved by it is well known. 

The work was completed in twenty-two days ; like 
Mozart, when he began to write, he worked at white heat 
to the end ; but there is evidence that the actual compo- 
sition had been more or less worked out in his own mind 
before it was put on paper, for in the Fitzwilliam Museum 
there are some preliminary sketches for the Messiah and 
other works. It is well known that Mozart completed 
all his works in his head before he began writing them 
down. It is probable that Handel would destroy his 
sketches as so much waste paper when a work was 
completed, and that the existing ones escaped his notice. 

The Messiah is a household word with every English- 



man, whether music-lover or not ; and even those who, 
through temperament, do not appreciate Handel's music 
(for no music in the world appeals to all alike), usually 
acknowledge its greatness. We have heard the " Halle- 
lujah " chorus, with its frequent reiteration of the single 
word " Hallelujah," described as irreligious ; to us it seems 
pre-eminently to suggest the sudden and spontaneous cries 
of joy of a multitude who are greatly moved by an event 
which concerns them very deeply. Handel was in an in- 
tense state of religious exaltation when he wrote it, saying 
afterwards, " I did think I did see all Heaven before me, 
and the Great God Himself." 

The " Hallelujah " chorus in Judas Maccabeus, repre- 
senting the organised welcome of an earthly hero 
coming home from war, is of an entirely different 

There is scarcely a single oratorio for which Handel 
did not follow the practice common in those days of bor- 
rowing from some of his own previous works, and the 
Messiah is no exception to this rule. Four of its choruses, 
namely, " His yoke is easy," " He shall purify," " For unto 
us," and " All we like sheep " ; and the duet, " O, death ! 
where is thy sting?" are partly or wholly taken from 
several of his chamber duets. 

The compiler of the words, Mr Jennens, was not 
satisfied with Handel's setting of the Messiah. Writing 
to one of his friends in 1740 he says : "I shall show you 
a collection I gave Handel, called Messiah, which I value 
highly, and he has made a fine entertainment of it, though 
not so good as he might and ought to have done. I 
have with great difficulty made him correct some of the 
grossest faults in the composition. But he retained his 



overture obstinately, in which there are some passages far 
unworthy of Handel, but much more unworthy of the 
Messiah" Handel took the criticism much more mildly 
than he was wont to do. He wrote to Jennens, "Be 
pleased to point out those passages in the Messiah which 
you think require altering " ; and he made many altera- 
tions and improvements from time to time. 

The other oratorios, with the exception of Israel in 
Egypt, are entirely different in plan from the Messiah. 
They are, as we have said, dramatic works, in which the 
characters appear in person ; the choruses are generally 
sung by Israelites, Philistines, priests and augurs, nymphs 
and swains, virgins, etc. The treatment is the same, 
whether the oratorio is concerned with a sacred or 
classical story, and the work differs from an opera only 
in the absence of scenery and action, which are left to 
the imagination of the audience, in the preponderance of 
massive contrapuntal choruses, and the simpler orchestra- 

We now have to deal with one of the most difficult 
problems that confront the student. Handel, 
like Bach, constantly borrowed from his own 
earlier works, adapting new words to music 
previously used. This seems to have been a * 

common practice in those days. Another apparently 
recognised practice was the use of fugue or variation 
subjects, or ground basses, by whomever composed, as 
the basis of new compositions, and no one seems to 
have objected. Bach uses fugue themes by Legrenzi, 
Corelli and Albinoni without acknowledgment; Handel 
uses the subject of the Goldberg variations; and the 
well-known subject of Bach's great G minor organ fugue 



was undoubtedly suggested to him by a sonata of Reinken. 
It was constantly used as a theme for candidates for organ 
appointments to extemporise upon. 

We can therefore put aside the criticism that delights 
in finding "coincidences," resemblances between a fugue 
subject of Handel and another by someone else. 

But Handel was in the habit of appropriating whole 
sections of oratorios, operas, etc., by other composers; 
altering the words, rescoring and generally improving the 
music, with all the effects his genius was capable of, and 
then incorporating it into his own oratorios, operas, etc., 
without any acknowledgment. 

The greater part of the choruses in Israel in Egypt are 
adapted from a manuscript eight-part Magnificat^ which 
Rockstro, from an examination of the paper, watermark, 
and handwriting, attributes to between the years 1737 
and 1740. The MS. is unfinished and undated; Handel 
was usually most careful to date both the beginning and 
end of his compositions. Now in 1857 a mysterious copy 
of this Magnificat was discovered in the library of the 
Sacred Harmonic Society, bearing the inscription, " Magni- 
ficat del Rd. Sigr. Erba." It was at once concluded that 
Handel had " borrowed " his Israel from one of two com- 
posers, Giorgio Erba, a violinist who published some 
sonatas in 1736, or Dionigi Erba, a celebrated maestro 
and composer who flourished at Milan about 1690. The 
letters " Rd." seem to imply that the owner or composer 
was a priest ; and no priest of this name is mentioned as a 
friend of Handel. Chrysander attributes the composition 
to Dionigi, of Milan. Rockstro thinks that the expression 
del instead of dal shows that that particular copy of the 
work belonged to the Rev. Signer Erba, not that it was 



by him, but this cannot be borne out. The mystery 
still awaits explanation. 

But if this were the only instance of borrowing whole- 
sale from another composer, it need not trouble us much. 
From a serenata of Stradella he borrowed part of " The 
people shall hear," " He gave them hailstones," " And 
believed the Lord," " He spake the word," " He led them 
forth " ; and from a canzona by J. C. Kerl, " Egypt was 
glad when they departed." From five Italian duets by 
G. C. M. Clari (1699-1745) he borrowed five portions 
of Theodora-. "Come, mighty Father," "To Thee thou ' < 
glorious Son of worth," "How strange their end," the 
second movement of the overture, and "Descend kind 
pity." From eight pieces for the harpsichord by G. 
Muffat (1690-1770) were taken the first movement of 
the overture ; flute aria ; chorus " From Harmony " ; organ 
aria in Cecilia ; portions of the ist, 5th, 8th, gth, loth, 
and 1 2th of the Grand Concertos; the introduction 
(which takes the place of the overture) and march in 
Joshua ; parts of the overture of Theodora ; march in Judas ; 
the fugue in the overture to Samson. From a Te Deum 
by F. A. Uria or Urio (1682), ten numbers of the 
"Dettingen" Te Deum, and parts of Saul. From the 
oratorio Jephte, by Carissimi (i6o4?-i674), part of 
Samson; and from a mass by Habermann (1706-1783), 
portions of Jephtha. 

Handel was recognised among his contemporaries as 
a man of the highest honour and integrity; and many 
modern writers have exercised themselves a good deal over 
these "borrowings," which, from their being unacknow- 
ledged, seem to be really literary thefts. But if we look into 
the matter closely we shall see that these thefts were per- 



fectly compatible with the spirit of the age. Property in 
literary works was not recognised. Every publisher, every 
performer, was practically at liberty to make what use he 
could of a composer's works. When Handel found that 
his clavier pieces were being published without his 
sanction, and in an inferior form, he had no idea of 
going to law in the matter. We have seen that many 
of his compositions were pillaged, as a matter of course, 
by Walsh ; yet this did not prevent him from employing 
Walsh. The law would not have protected him, and it 
had probably never occurred to anyone at that time that 
such things should be a matter of legislation. He took 
the only course open to him, of republishing the works 
himself in a more correct form. Everyone used everyone 
else's compositions as he willed. No one ever thought 
until the middle of the present century that wrong was 
being done. If this practice had been recognised as 
theft, what a splendid chance there would have been for 
Handel's numerous enemies ! They could have brought 
an indictment against him of being unable to compose 
music for himself, and, therefore, appropriating the labours 
of others. 

If it be said that Erba, being an unknown composer, 
Handel could steal from him with comparative safety, the 
same cannot be said of Carli, who was a contemporary of 
Handel, and whose works were well known, and admired 
by the greatest masters of the time, and of Muffat, another 
contemporary, whose Componenti per il cembalo were pub- 
lished in 1727, and were considered his masterpiece. 

But, it will be said, Bononcini was obliged to leave Eng- 
land owing to the odium incurred by his appropriation of 
Lotti's madrigal The cases are not quite on all fours. 


"Dettingen" Te Deum 

Handel, following a universal practice, did not merely 
copy out the music of others ; he made it the basis of far 
richer and more effective music than they could do he 
adapted it to other words ; rescored it to a great extent, 
and so made it his own. Bononcini simply copied out 
the madrigal word for word, and note for note, without im- 
proving or altering it, and this was considered as theft ; 
the other practice was no more than an enlargement, as 
it were, of the practice of using fugue subjects of others 
for new fugues, etc. That the practice was not even 
more universal may probably be attributed to the fact 
that there were no other composers (in England at all 
events) who could improve on the works of the Italian 
and German musicians. 

Three manuscript copies of Urio's Te Deum exist. Of 
these, one, in the British Museum, has the following note : 
" This curious score was transcribed from an Italian copy 
in the collection of Dr Samuel Howard, Mus.D., organist 
of St Bride's and St Clement Danes. It formerly be- 
longed to Mr Handel, who has borrowed from hence 
several verses in the ' Dettingen ' Te Deum, as well as some 
other passages in the oratorio of Saul, T. B. 1 This copy 
was written by John Anderson, a chorister of St Paul's, 

It is evident from the above note that some twenty 
years after Handel's death his practice of borrowing was 
noticed without comment ; and on another copy of Urio's 
work, now in the library of the Conservatoire at Paris, is 
written a remark, " Mr Handel was much indebted to this 
author, as plainly appears by his Dettingen Te Deum, 
likewise a duett in Julius Casar, and a movement in 
1 Thomas Bever, Fellow of All Souls, Oxford. 


Saul for carillons, etc., etc. J. W. Callcott, May 16, 

I797-" 1 

We may hazard the opinion then that it is undeniably 
proved that Handel did borrow largely from other com- 
posers without acknowledgment ; that what he borrowed 
he practically made his own by the exercise of his genius j 
and that in the then state of public opinion, it never once 
occurred either to him or to any of his friends or enemies 
that in so doing he was acting dishonourably. It was 
clearly a case of the survival of the fittest. If Erba or 
Urio or Carli had attracted the public more than Handel, 
we should have heard of them rather than of Handel; 
and he would not have thought of adapting the music of 
others if he could not have made it more attractive than 
it was already. 

Various names were given to the smaller vocal works ; 
Acts and Galatea was called a "Masque," 2 "Pastoral," 
" Serenata " in different editions. It was, as we have seen, 
composed for the Duke of Chandos, and performed at 
Canons about 1720. It was revised in 1732 for a per- 
formance at the Haymarket Theatre, and again in 1733 
for the Oxford Act. 

The Ads and Galatea of 1720 was an English play; 
the Serenatas of 1732 and 1733 were mostly sung in 
Italian, and were a combination of the Canons Ads 

1 " Dictionary of Music and Musicians," Grove, vol. iv. pp. 209 
and 210. 

2 Masque : a dramatic entertainment, usually upon an allegorical 
or mythological subject, combining poetry, vocal and instrumental 
music, scenery, dancing, elaborate machinery, and splendid costumes 
and decorations. The performers were usually persons of rank. 
Grove's "Dictionary," vol. ii. p. 225. 


Carefulness of Detail 

with the Aci, Galatea e Polifemo^ composed at Naples 
in 1708, with additions; and in 1740 Handel returned 
to the original Masque of 1720, but divided it with two 
acts, adding a chorus, " Happy we," to end the first act. 
Between the acts a concerto was played on the organ by 
Handel or some other. The part of Damon was sung 
by a tenor at Canons, but afterwards was put into the 
treble clef, and marked " for the boy," and many of the 
soprano solos in the oratorios are intended for " the boy." 
The choruses of Ads are in five parts, soprano (boys), 
three tenors, and a bass, like the Chandos anthems, but 
at later performances he apparently caused the first tenor 
part to be sung by contralto voices. The orchestra was 
a small one, consisting of two oboes, two violins, basses 
and harpsichord. To these were added in some of the 
solos, a piccolo, two flutes, and, in the chorus, " Happy 
we," a viola. The work differs from a secular oratorio in 
having scenery on the stage, and from an opera in the 
importance and length of the choruses. 

Handel spared no pains in altering, rewriting, and 
adapting his works to varying times and circumstances. 
No work was ever complete and finished; nearly every 
new performance saw it provided "with additions and 
alterations." Except in the case of the Messiah he looked^ 
upon all performances as "entertainments" of a high 
order which must be varied to suit the particular singers, 
and each particular public. 

The " Concert! Grossi" were very popular, and took the 
same place at concerts as the symphonies of later composers. 
The orchestra consisted of two principal and two ripieno 
violin parts, viola, 'cello and figured bass ; to these were 
occasionally added oboes, bassoons and flutes. 
p 225 


The concerto usually began with a slow, moderate, or 
maestoso movement. Then came an allegro, and an 
adagio in which the solo violins and 'cello were expected 
to exhibit their skill in ornamentation of the given themes. 
This was followed by an allegro of fugal character, and 
there was usually a final movement in triple time ; but 
there are exceptions to the above plan, as in the third of 
the concertos for strings alone (Op. 6), where a Polonaise 
Andante takes the place of the usual adagio, and by a 
rare exception the fugato movement is omitted. These 
concertos, popular as they once were, would be no more 
acceptable to the general public of to-day than the operas. 
The succession of movements in the same key, the mono- 
tony of the orchestration, and the small range of modula- 
tion would pall, though there is plenty of spirit and verve 
in the actual themes. 

There exists in the Fitzwilliam Museum an incomplete 
" overture " for two clarionets and corno di caccia. The 
clarionet, or little trumpet (clarino), was invented about 
1690 at Nuremberg, but it had not come into use as 
an orchestral instrument during Handel's lifetime. The 
corno di caccia, or hunting horn, or French horn, was 
frequently used by Bach. 

The organ concertos are partly original and partly 
~ arrangements of other works. The second 

r & <ln set of six were pirated by Walsh from 

oncer os ^ orcnestra i concertos, and arranged for 
the organ. There is also extant a single movement 
in D minor for two organs and orchestra. The general 
construction of these concertos follows the plan of those 
for orchestra. 

The accompaniment consists of two oboes or two flutes, 



one, two, or three violin parts, viola and basses. No. 6 
of the first set is for harp or organ. The organ plays the 
same notes as the orchestra in the tuttis, and the solo 
portions consist for the most part of florid passages 
("divisions") for the right hand, with single notes for 
the left. Rarely are there more than two parts, and 
the orchestra, if it accompanies at all, only plays a few 
notes here and there. There is none of the rich orchestra- 
tion we are accustomed to in the pianoforte concertos of 
later composers. Pedal organs were practically unknown 
in England at that time ; it is remarkable that neither 
Smith or Harris, who had learned their art in Germany 
and France, ever built a pedal organ in England. 1 Per- 
haps expense, want of space, and insular prejudice, may 
have been against them. 

The concertos have the appearance of being composed 
for comparatively small organs. There are none of the 
massive effects that are found in the works of Bach and 
the German school ; all the forte passages are played by 
the orchestra in conjunction with the organ, which is 
practically treated like a harpsichord, in which the chief 
effects are produced by arpeggios and runs, rather than 
sustained sounds. 

The first concerto of Op. 7 shows that there must have 
been somewhere in England an organ with pedals, for its 
andante, which is on a ground bass, has a passage of 
thirty-three bars without the orchestra for "organo a 2 
clav. e pedale," in which the ground bass is given to the 
pedals, on a separate stave. 

We learn from Matheson that Handel, in his youth, 
surpassed him on the pedals, and from Burney, that on 
1 "History of the Organ," Hopkins & Rimbault. 


his first arrival in England he used to go to St Paul's 
Cathedral to play on the organ for the exercise it afforded 
him in the use of the pedals. It is evident, therefore, that 
pedals had been added to this organ by the year 1710, 
and it is not impossible that Handel might have had them 
temporarily added to the manuals of some of the organs 
on which he played at public entertainments, and as 
no one but he could use them, that, with the above 
exception, he omitted printing a part for them in his 
published concertos. The addition of a pedal-board 
coupled to the manuals, and without separate pipes, 
would entail little trouble, no extra space, and merely 
nominal expense, and it was universally applied in 
Germany to the clavichord in this way for the use of 
organ students. 

Handel composed a certain amount of chamber music 
Chamber * n ^ S ear ^ ^ a ^ S> * r nar P s i cnor< ^ alone ; for 
Music v *k ^ a S amDa anc * harpsichord ; for two 

violins and violoncello, with figured bass ; 
flute and figured bass. These compositions were popular 
in their day, but suffer from the same defects as the 
concertos from a modern point of view, i.e. want of variety. 

Handel's orchestra was a large one, containing twelve 
first and twelve second violins, at least four bassoons, and 
four violoncellos. There were two harpsichords, and 
apparently a considerable number of oboes and flutes. 
Quantz, in his " Memoirs," says " Handel's band is un- 
commonly powerful." Side-drums were used in Joshua 
in the chorus, "See the conquering hero comes," and 
occasionally in the march in Judas Maccabtzus. The 
chorus in the Messiah, " Lift up your heads," had two 
separate wind bands besides the strings, i.e. ist band : 



2 horns, 2 oboes, bassoons (plural) ; 2nd band : 2 horns, 
2 oboes, bassoons (plural). 

He was as careful and moderate in his handling of 
masses of sound as Richard Wagner, and, of course, the 

Harpsichord by Ruckers, in South Kensington Museum, formerly 
the property of J. C. Smith the younger. 

same foolish things were said of his music as we were 
accustomed to hear twenty years ago said of Wagner's. 

On the occasion of a concert, during the time the 
trumpets were playing, a thunder-clap happened to 
burst right over the building ; whereupon the King said 
to Lord Pembroke, " How sublime ! what an accom- 
paniment ! How this would have delighted Handel ! " 

In another place we read " There was a time when 



the man mountain Handel had got the superiority, 
notwithstanding many attempts had been made to keep 
him down, and might have maintained it probably, had 
he been content to have pleased people in their own 
way ; but his evil genius would not suffer it ; for imagin- 
ing, forsooth, that nothing could obstruct him in his 
career while at the zenith of his greatness, broached 
another kind of music, more full, more grand (as his 
admirers are pleased to call it), and, to make the noise 
the greater, caused it to be performed by at least double 
the number of voices and instruments than were ever 
heard in the theatre before. ... At one time I ex- 
pected the house to be blown down with his artificial 
wind ; at another time, that the sea would have over- 
flowed its banks and swallowed us up. But beyond 
everything, his thunder is most intolerable. I shall never 
get the horrid rumbling of it out of my head. This was, 
literally, you will say, taking us by storm." 

In course of time the Messiah and other of Handel's 
Q - f oratorios became known on the continent, 

"Add*'t I an( *' smce or g ans were not often found in 
* l . the concert rooms, Mozart was commissioned 

men" ' by Bar n V n Swieten > about T ? 88 ' to write 
additional wind parts, for performances of 

the Messiah, Alexanders Feast, Ads and Galatea, and the 

Cecilia Ode which took place at the Hofbibliothek at 

Vienna. Other composers followed suit, with less 

reverence than Mozart had shown ; Adam Hiller, for 

example, who introduced " extraordinary things " x into the 

score of the Messiah. It does not appear that Mozart 

ever intended his additional accompaniments for publica- 

1 R. Franz, Introduction to the Messiah. 


Additional Accompaniments 

tion : they were merely to be used in the absence of an 
organ. In 1800, Breitkopf published the Messiah with 
" Mozart's " accompaniments ; but later investigation has 
shown that several numbers in this edition were the work 
of Hiller, in which great liberties were taken with the 
original score. Perhaps the most salient example is in 
the aria, "If God be for us," which is completely 
re-scored by Hiller, and has been always accepted " as 
altered by Mozart." 1 But Mozart was careful not to 
touch a note of Handel's music : he altered nothing ; he 
merely added extra wind parts to the original score. 
The matter was fully investigated by Robert Franz of 
Halle, who published the Messiah with Mozart's accom- 
paniments, and an important explanatory introduction. 

Some admirers of Handel would like to abolish all 
additional accompaniments and return to the simplicity 
of the original : but conditions have changed so much 
that it is doubtful whether this would be an advantage. 
In the first place, the orchestra of Handel's day usually 
outnumbered the chorus. Oboes, bassoons and flutes 
were used in masses like the violins, and not in single 
instruments to a part as at -present ; the tone of the 
ancient wind instruments was much weaker than those of 
the present day, and audiences have become so accus- 
tomed to a richer orchestration that they would, in all 
probability, find that of Handel's time far too monotonous. 
It is very doubtful if we shall ever, as a practice, return 
to this simplicity, though, from an antiquarian point of 
view, an occasional experiment would be interesting. 
But whether we eventually abolish additional accompani- 
ments or not, the innate vigour, the simplicity, directness, 
1 Novello's Edition of 1859. 


and thoroughly wholesome nature of Handel's music will 
commend itself to the bulk of the English nation as long 
as it retains its present sturdy character. Handel wrote 
strong music, for a strong and free people, and they 
have thankfully accepted the legacy he has left them. 

A society was established at Boston, Massachusetts, in 
TT j , 1815, called the Handel and Haydn Society 
... for performing the works of these composers. 

It obtained a charter in the following year, 
and has given many important choral and orchestral works, 
by all the great composers, with a chorus of about 600 voices. 

In 1843 a "Handel Society" was formed for the pub 
lication of a standard edition of the works of Handel, by 
the late Sir G. A. Macfarren, Sir W. Sterndale Bennett, 
Sir Henry Bishop, Sir George Smart, Dr E. J. Hopkins, 
Dr Crotch, Moscheles, and others. This society published 
the Coronation Anthems, L' Allegro, il Pensieroso ed il 
Moderate, Esther, Cecilia Ode> Israel in Egypt (edited by 
Mendelssohn), Ads and Galatea, tlje "Dettingen" Te 
Deum, Belshazzar, Messiah, 1 3 Chamber duets and 2 trios, 
Samson, Judas Maccabceus, Saul, wc\&Jephtha. It dissolved 
in 1848, and the publication of the works was continued 
by Cramer & Co. till 1858. 

In 1856 the Handelgesellschaft was formed at Leipsic 
for the publication of Handel's works, by Dr Chrysander, 
Franz, Gervinus, Hauptmann, Moscheles, Liszt, Rietz, 
Meyerbeer, and others. The publishers were Breitkopf 
and Hartel, and the works were edited by Dr "Chrysander. 
The King of Hanover guaranteed it against loss, the 
Prussian Government afterwards taking over the guar- 
antee. It had in 1900 completed the publication of the 
whole of Handel's works with the exception of the Messiah. 


Chapter XVI 

Influence of Handel on English composers 

HANDEL left no pupils to carry on his work. Having 
assimilated and made his own all the important features 
in the music of his forerunners, Keiser, Steffani, Purcell, 
Scarlatti, Lotti, and others, he stood absolutely alone ; 
there were no musicians who could approach him in 
England, and he had no successors. He had imitators, 
naturally, by the score; composers who could catch the 
tricks of his style, and make a momentary reputation 
thereby. This condition is common to all great com- 
posers; none has yet appeared who was not succeeded 
for a time by a host of imitators. 

He wrote in the so-called " Italian style." If we com- 
pare his " Dettingen " and " Utrecht " Te Deums with that 
of Purcell in D, the difference between the Italian and 
the English style becomes at once apparent. One reads 
through the Purcell score, and is struck with the bold 
ness of the choral effects, the beauty and tenderness of 
some of the solos and duets ; but when one turns to the 
Handel scores, one sees the same subject treated on a 
far grander scale ; the ritornels are of immense length 
and importance compared to those of Purcell, the fugal 
subjects are more worked out, the orchestra takes a place 

2 33 


that is equal to, and often of greater importance than, the 
chorus. Both composers wrote their Te Deums for festival 
occasions, and both threw all their energies into the effort 
to produce the best results known to them. The differ- 
ence is like the difference between an English and an 
Italian cathedral : for example, St Paul's and St Peter's. 
St Paul's stands surrounded by buildings, hardly seen, 
modest in size and in ornament, but beautiful in its own 
way, and specially dear to the English people. St Peter's, 
on the other hand, is of gigantic size ; it stands in a clear 
space of many scores of acres in extent ; the beholder is 
struck by the size, the luxurious prnaments, the brilliant 
colouring, the enormous spaces both inside and outside 
the building. In a like manner the musician is struck by 
the luxuriance and magnificence of the form and acces- 
sories of Handel's works as compared with those of his 
contemporaries, while of internal beauty there is little to 
choose between Purcell and Handel. 

But it is just this overpowering grandeur and strength 
that struck a blow at native English productivity, from 
which it only began to recover in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century. English music was practically all 
Handel or Handelian : our cathedral composers were in- 
fluenced by him, and our audiences would listen to no 
music made in England except the oratorios of Handel. 
It is true that numbers of English composers had made 
oratorios, some of them very fine ones; but they could 
not compete with the Saxon music that the English nation 
had made its own ; they were performed a few times, 
perhaps, and then lost sight of. 

Who hears nowadays of performances of any of the 
oratorios of Arne (1710-1778), . Arnold (1740-1802), 


Influence on English Composers 

Crotch (1775-1822), Bexfield (1824-1853), Greene 
(1696-1755), Hayes (1738-1 797)? Efforts are being made 
to revive the music of Purcell amongst the cultivated few, 
but it is scarcely likely that the general public, accustomed 
to the magnificence of the Messiah, of Israel in Egypt, 
of Samson, will learn to appreciate the equally great, 
though less massive and luxuriant, music of Handel's 

The recovery from the blow dealt at English music 
began with the appearance of Sterndale Bennett (1816-75), 
who for a time stood alone ; he was followed by Sir 
Arthur Sullivan, whose loss we have had to lament so 
lately, and then by a number of younger composers ; and 
after a lapse of nearly a century and a half from the death 
of Purcell, the English school of composition, begun by 
him and nipped in the bud by Handel, began to show 
signs of again coming to life. What the future may bring 
forth no one can tell ; one thing is certain, that there is 
no evidence at present of any foreign giant coming here 
and trampling to death the vigorous young English school 
of composition that is growing up. 

The above remarks apply chiefly to choral and orchestral 
music, for which the English nation has always shown a 
preference over opera. Shall we ever have a settled school 
of English opera ? We have had our Wallace, our Balfe, our 
Bishop, who wrote fine music on the Italian plan of a series 
of airs, beautiful in themselves, but scarcely complying 
with the requirements of the "music drama" which 
apparently is destined to take the place of the old Italian 
opera. We have had an excellent school of Comic Opera, 
begun by Arthur Sullivan and carried on by others ; but 
will the operas and the operatic style of Balfe live ? or 



will the Savoy operas, filled as they are with allusions to 
the events of their own day, be able to keep the stage 
in the future, when the topics to which they allude are 
forgotten ? Doubtless many of their airs and choruses 
will be popular long after the operas themselves have 
disappeared from the stage; we see this in the operas 
of Handel, of Purcell, of Gluck, and many others of the 
old composers, some of whose airs are as popular as they 
ever were. It seems almost impossible that opera, which 
makes such enormous demands on all concerned, and 
especially on financial resources, can ever be maintained 
all the year round at a high state of efficiency on the 
proceeds of the performances alone. It is possible that 
now and then some exceedingly clever and energetic 
manager, with plenty of capital, may, by combining it 
with other and less expensive entertainments, be able 
to keep it going; just as the famous Popular Concerts 
were at first started and kept going as an adjunct to 
St James' Hall, until a large enough public was created 
to make them self-supporting. But is it right that so 
important an element of refinement and pure enjoy- 
ment as opera should be subject to such chances for its 
existence ? We spend many thousands of pounds a year 
in educating the masses in " useful " subjects ; we sub- 
sidise the art of Painting ; our great towns are doing their 
best to ameliorate the condition of the working classes 
why should not the lives of the whole of our town popu- 
lations, and not of the so-called working classes only 
be ameliorated by the establishment of permanent opera- 
houses ? They would probably in a few years pay their 
way, or nearly do so; the opportunity is at hand, now 
that we have a rising school of English musicians, and 


English Music 

there is no foreign giant to overshadow and nullify their 

But " Englischer Componist ? Kein Componist ! " said 
Schumann, and there are doubtless many who, agreeing 
with Schumann, will say that even if Handel had not 
appeared, or had remained in Germany, we should have 
had no great school of English composers during the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The English race 
is, it is true, backward in its appreciation of the import- 
ance of art as a factor in social well-being. We are insular 
and extremely prejudiced, and it is after all doubtful 
whether the English composers who succeeded Handel, 
even if they had the advantage of constant production of 
their works, would have been sufficiently in earnest to 
have carried on Purcell's work. Handel had a remarkable 
combination of talents : the loftiest enthusiasm, the highest 
ideals, were in him joined with an unusual talent for busi- 
ness, a combination rarely to be found in musicians. 

Earnestness of purpose is essential in the making of a 
great composer, and it is just this that is too often lacking 
among those musicians whose highest aim is to become 
doctors of music, and who have little conception that 
music in its highest sense can, if properly used, pro- 
foundly affect the well-being of a community. It may 
be said that the appearance of Mozart did not kill the 
musical productivity of German musicians. The reason 
is easy to see ; he was a German, writing for Germans, 
and he was followed by Germans who were earnest enough 
to carry on the work of their fellow-countryman. 

It is not impossible that had Purcell lived he might 
have founded, through pupils, an English school, and that 
there would have been no place for Handel in England. 



But however much Handel may or may not be responsible 
for the dearth of English composers of the first rank during 
a century and a half, there is no doubt that the English 
nation as a whole owes an enormous debt of gratitude tc 
him for the masterly way in which he compelled them tc 
accept and assimilate the grandeur and beauty of his 


Catalogue of Works 

Numbers in brackets refer to the volume of the German Handel 
Edition, in which the works will be found. Dates refer to first 
performances, unless otherwise specified. 


Almira (55). Hamburg, January 8, 1705. Handel's first 

Nero. Hamburg, February 26, 1705 (lost). Libretto by 


Florinda. Hamburg, about 1706 (lost). 
Daphne. Hamburg, about 1706 (lost). 
Roderigo or Rodrigo (56). Florence, 1707. 
Agrippina (57). Venice, 1708. Libretto by Vincenzo 

Grimani, a Venetian nobleman. 
Rinaldo (58). Handel's first opera in London, Queen's (King's) 

Theatre in the Haymarket, February 24, 1711. Libretto 

by Rossi. 
// Pastor Fido (59). Queen's Theatre, Haymarket, November 

26, 1712. Libretto by Rossi. 
Teseo (60). Queen's Theatre, January 10, 1713. Libretto by 

Haym. Handel's only five-act opera. 
Silla (61). Never publicly performed, but possibly privately 

at Canons. 

Amadigi (62). King's Theatre, May 1715. 
Radamisto (63). The first opera composed by Handel for the 

Royal Academy of Music, April 17, 1720. Its three 

versions are given in the German Handel Society's 

edition. Libretto by Haym. 
Muzio Scczvola (64) (third act of). King's Theatre, April 15 

1721. Libretto by Rolli. 



Floridante (65). King's Theatre, December 9, 1721. Libretto 

by Rolli. 
Ottone (66). King's Theatre, January 12, 1723. Libretto by 

Flavio (67). King's Theatre, May 14, 1723. Libretto by 

Giulio Cesare (68). King's Theatre, February 20, 1724. 

Libretto by Haym. 
Tamerlano (69). King's Theatre, October 31, 1724. Libretto 

by Haym. 
Rodelinda (70). King's Theatre, February 13, 1725. Libretto 

by Haym. 
Scipion6 (71). King's Theatre, March 12, 1726. Libretto by 

Alessandro (72). King's Theatre, May 5, 1726. Libretto by 


Admeto (73). King's Theatre, January 31, 1727. 
Riccardo Printo, Re d? Inghilterra. King's Theatre, November 

11,1727. Libretto by Rolli. 
Siroe (75). King's Theatre, February 17, 1728. Libretto by 

Metastasio, adapted by Haym, and curtailed by Handel. 
Tolomeo, Re tfEgitto (76). King's Theatre, April 30, 1728. 

Libretto by Haym. The last opera composed by Handel 

for the Royal Academy. 
Lotario (77). King's Theatre, December 2, 1729. Libretto 

founded on one by Matteo Noris. 
Partenope (78). King's Theatre, February 24, 1730. Libretto 

by Silvio Stampiglia, 1699. 

Rinaldo (58). New version. King's Theatre, 1731. 
Poro (79). King's Theatre, February, 2 1731. Libretto from 

Metastasio's "Alessandro nell' India." 
Ezio (80). King's Theatre, January 15, 1732. Libretto by 

Sosarme (81). King's Theatre, February 19, 1732. Libretto 

by Mattei Noris, 1694. 
Orlando (82). King-'s Theatre, January 27, 1733. Libretto, 

an old one, by Braccioli of Venice. 
Arianna (83). King's Theatre, January 26, 1734. Libretto 

by Francis Colman. 



Terpsichore (84). Covent Garden, May 18, 1734, as prologue 

to Pastor Fido, 2nd version (84). 
Ariodante (85). Covent Garden, January 8, 1735. Libretto 

by Antonio Salvi. 

Alcina (86). Covent Garden, April 16, 1735. 
Atalanta (87). Covent Garden, April 22, 1736, in honour of 

the marriage of the Prince of Wales with Princess Augusta 

of Saxe-Gotha. 
Giustino (88). Covent Garden, February 16, 1737. Libretto 

by Count Beregani of Venice, 1683. 
Arminio (89). Covent Garden, January 12, 1737. Libretto 

said by Burney to have been used in 1714 for another 


Berenice (90). Covent Garden, May 18, 1737. 
Faramondo (19). King's Theatre, January 7, 1738. Libretto 

by Apostolo Zeno. 
Serse (92). King's Theatre, April 15, 1738. Libretto and 

some of the music probably from an older opera by 

another composer. 
Jupiter in Argos. Advertised, but never performed, 1739. 

MS. in Fitzwilliam Museum. 

Imeneo (93). Lincoln's Inn Fields, November 22, 1740. 
Deidamia (94). Lincoln's Inn Fields, January 10, 1741. 

Libretto by Rolli. Handd's last opera. 

Eleven Pasticcios, collected from the works of various com- 
posers, and provided with recitative, were arranged by 

Handel at various times from 1730 to 1747. 
Tito. Unperformed and unpublished. 
Alfonso Primo. 

Flavio Olibrio. 


An unnamed opera. MS. at the Fitzwilliam Museum. 


Passion, according to St John (9). Hamburg, 1704. Words 

of arias by Wilhelm Postel. 
Resurrezione (32). Rome, 1708. 
// Trionfo del Tempo (24). Rome, 1708. Libretto by Pansili. 

Q 241 


Passion of Christ (15). Hamburg, 1717. J. S. Bach made a 

copy of this work. 
Esther. First Version. Chapel of Canons, 1720. Libretto 

arranged by Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot, from Racine's 

Esther. It was called Haman and Mordecai : a Masque. 
Esther. Second Version (41). King's Theatre, 1733. Words 

by Samuel Humphreys. 
Deborah (29). King's Theatre, March 17, 1733. Words by 

Samuel Humphreys. 
Athalia (5). Oxford, July 10, 1733. Words by Samuel 

Saul (13). King's Theatre, January 16, 1739. Words by 

Newburgh Hamilton. 
Israel in Egypt (16). King's Theatre, April 4, 1739. Words 

selected from Scripture by the composer. 
Messiah. Dublin, April 13, 1742. Words selected from 

Scripture by Charles Jennens. 
Samson (10). Covent Garden, February 18, 1743. Words 

adapted to the stage by Newburgh Hamilton from 

Milton's Samson Agonistes. 
Joseph (42). Covent Garden, March 2, 1744. Words by 

the Rev. James Miller. 
Belshazzar (19). King's Theatre, March 27, 1745. Words by 

Charles Jennens. 
Occasional Oratorio (43). Covent Garden, February 14, 1746. 

Words probably by Dr Thomas Morell. "Called 'occa- 
sional' because its creation and performance were occa- 
sioned by peculiar passing circumstances " (Chrysander). 
Judas Maccabaus (22). Covent Garden, April I, 1747. Words 

by Dr Morell. 
Joshua (17). Covent Garden, March 9, 1748. Words by Dr 

Alexander Balus (33). Covent Garden, March 23, 1748. 

Words by Dr Morell. 
Solomon (26). Covent Garden, March 17, 1749. Words by 

Dr Morell. This work contains double choruses and 

parts for two organs. 
Susanna (i). Covent Garden, spring of 1749. The author of 

the words is unknown. 


Serenatas, Odes, &c. 

Theodora (8). Covent Garden, March 16. 1750. Words bv 

Dr Morell. 
Jephtha (44). Covent Garden. February 26, 1752. Words by 

Dr Morell. 
Triumph of Time and Truth (20). Arranged from // Trionfo. 

Covent Garden, 1757. 


Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (53). Naples, 1708. Only three per- 
sons are employed, and there is no chorus. 
Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (46^). St James' Palace, 

February 6, 1713. 

Ads and Galatea (3). Canons, 1720. Words by John Gay. 
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (53). King's Theatre, 1732. Revised 

from the earlier work, and provided with choruses. 
The Alchemist. Covent Garden, 1732. Words by Ben 

// Pamasso in Festa (54). King's Theatre, March 13, 1734. 

In honour of the marriage of Princess Anne to the Prince 

of Orange. 
Alexander's Feast (12). Covent Garden, February 19, 1736. 

Words by Dryden. 

Ode for St Cecilia's Day (23). Lincoln's Inn Fields, Novem- 
ber 22, 1739. Words by Dryden. 
Praise of Harmony. A short piece by Newburgh Hamilton, 

produced about the same time. 
L? Allegro, il Pensieroso ed il Moderate (6). Lincoln's Inn 

Fields, February 27, 1740. Words by Milton, altered by 

Hymen. Dublin, March, 17, 1742. This was the opera 

Imeneo, produced at Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1740. 
Semele (7). Covent Garden, February 10, 1744. Words 

altered from those of Congreve. 
Hercules (4). King's Theatre, January 5, 1745. Words by 

the Rev. T. Broughton. 
Alceste (46^). Composed between December 29, 1749, and 

January 8, 1750. Incidental music to an English play 

by Tobias Smollett. Never performed. 



Choice of Hercules (18). An Interlude. Covent Garden, March 
i, 1751. Words from Spencer's Polymetis. 


Laudate pueri in ^(38). Halle, 1702. 

Dixit Dominus (38). Rome, 1707. 

Nisi Dominus (38). Rome or Halle. 

Laudate pueri in D (38). Rome, 1707. 

Silete venti (38). Rome, 1708. 

Six Alleluias (38). Various dates. For voice and harpsi- 

Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate (31). St Paul's Cathedral, 
July 7, 1713. 

Te Deum in D (37). About 1714. 

Fifteen Chandos Anthems (34). For chorus, organ and 
orchestra. Canons, 1716-1718. 

Te Deum in Bflat (37). Canons, 1716-1718. 

Four Coronation Anthems (14). Westminster Abbey, Sep- 
tember u, 1727. For seven - part chorus and large 

Te Deum in A (37). About 1727. 

O praise the Lord, Ps. ciii., etc. (36). Anthem for chorus and 
orchestra. Occasion and date unknown. 

Wedding Anthem, Ps. xlv., etc. (36). Eight-part chorus, solos, 
orchestra and organ. Wedding of Princess Anne, March 

1 4, I734- 
Wedding Anthem, Ps. Ixviii., etc. Chorus, solos and 

orchestra. For the marriage of the Prince of Wales, 

April 27, 1736. 
Funeral Anthem (11). For the death of Queen Caroline, 

December 1737. Words from various Psalms. 
Dettingen Te Deum (25). November 22, 1743. 
Dettingen Anthem, Ps. x. and xi. (36). November 22, 1743. 
Foundling Hospital Anthem, Ps. xli., etc. (36). 1749. 
Three Hymns. MS. in Fitzwilliam Museum. Words by the 

Rev. C. Wesley. " Sinners obey the Gospel word." " O 

Love divine, how sweet thou art." " Rejoice the Lord is 



Instrumental Music 


Seventy -two Solo Cantatas for one or two voices with instru- 
ments (52 a, b, c\ The language is Italian, but No. 8 is 
English, No. 18 is Spanish with guitar accompaniment. 

Twenty -two Italian Duets and two Trios with harpsichord and 
violoncello (32). 

Seven Italia?t Cantatas. Unpublished. MSS. in Fitzwilliam 


Six Sonatas for two oboes with thoroughbass for harpsi- 
chord (73). Composed at 1 1 years of age. 

Sonata for viola-da-gamba and cembalo concertato in C. Com- 
posed at Hamburg, 1705 (48). 

Klavierbuch aus der Jugendzeit (48). A collection of suites, 
written about 1710, forming the originals of some of his 
later clavier works. 

Three Sonatas for flute and harpsichord (48). Probably 
written about 1710 at Hanover. 

Water Music (47). 1715. 

Suites de pieces pour claveqin (2). Published 1720. 

Fifteen Solos for a German flute ; oboe or violin, with a thorough- 
bass for harpsichord or bass violin (27). 1724. 

Six Concertos (21), Op. 3. "Concerti grossi con due violini e 
violoncello di concertino, e due altri violini, viola e basso 
di concerto grosso ad arbitrio." Published by Walsh in 
1729, and known from the predominance of the oboe as 
the Oboe Concertos, though bassoons and flutes are also 

Nine Sonatas or Trios for two violins, flutes or oboes, with a 
thoroughbass for harpsichord or violoncello, Op. 2 (27). 
Walsh, 1733. 

Suites de pieces pour claveqin (2). Second volume pilfered by 
Walsh in 1733 from a collection made for the young 
Princesses, and not intended for publication. 

Pieces pour clavecin (2). Five pieces published by Witvogel in 
Amsterdam, 1733. Several clavecin pieces still remain in 
MS. at Buckingham Palace and the Fitzwilliam Museum. 



Overture for the pasticcio Oreste (48). Produced December 

18, 1734. 
Six " Fugues or Voluntary s for the organ or harpsichord" 

Op. 30 (2). Published by Walsh in 1735. 
Overture in G minor for the pasticcio Alessandro Severo. 

February 5, 1738 (48). 

Six organ Concertos, Op. 4 (48). Walsh, 1738. 
Seven Sonatas or Trios for two violins or German flutes, with 

a thoroughbass for the harpsichord or violoncello, Op. 5 

(27). Walsh, 1739- 
Hornpipe, composed for the concert at Vauxhall, 1740 (48). 

For strings in three parts. 
Six Concertos for organ or harpsichord. Pilfered by Walsh in 

1740, and arranged by him from the orchestral concertos. 
Twelve grand Concertos, Op. 6a (30). For strings only, in 

seven parts. Published by Walsh, April 21, 1740. 
Pihes pour le claveqin (2). Published by Cluer, November 

14, 1742. 

Forest Music (47 ). 1 742. 
Fire Music (47). 1749. 
Concerto for two organs and orchestra in D minor (48). The 

first movement only is extant. 
Overture in B minor (48). Apparently adapted by Walsh 

from the overture to Trionfo del Tempo. 
Organ Concerto in D minor (48). Two movements. 
Organ Concerto in F (48). Also as a double concerto for two 

wind bands with strings (supplement to 47). 
Partita in A (48). 
Six little Fugues (48). These are believed by Chrysander not 

to be by Handel. 
Concerto for trumpets and horns. 
Concerto for horns and side-drums. 
Eight short pieces for orchestral instruments called Sinfonie 

diverse (48). 
Overture in five movements (incomplete] for two clarionets and 

corno di caccia. MS. in Fitzwilliam Museum. 



Arbuthnot. " Harmony in an Uproar," a letter to Frederick 

Handel, Esq. 1733. See "Johnson." 
Baker (David Erskine). Biographia Dramatica. London, 

Balfour (Right Hon. A. J.). Article in Edinburgh Review, 

January 1887. 
Ball (Thomas Hanley). Sketch of Handel and Beethoven. 

Baumgart (E. F.). "Ein Falsum in Mozart's Messias-Parti- 

tur" Niederrheinischen Musik. Zeitung, 1862. 
Bingley (W.). Musical Biography. London, 1714. 
Bishop (John). Brief Memoirs of George Frederick Handel. 

London, 1856. 

Bonchor(M.) Israel en Egypte. Etude. 1888. 
Bowley (Thomas). Grand Handel Musical Festival at the 

Palace. 1857. 
Brownlow. Memoranda, or Chronicles of the Foundling 

Hospital. 1847. 
Buchner (W.). Deutsche Ruhmeshalle. Part xv. Life of 


Burgh (A.). Anecdotes of Music. London, 1814. 
Burney (Dr Charles). An account of the musical performances 

in Westminster Abbey and the Pantheon in commemora- 
tion of Handel. 1785. 

Burney (Charles, Mus. Doc.). History of Music. 1776-1789. 
Busby (T.). A General History of Music. London, 1819. 
Calcott (W. H.). A few facts in the life of Handel. 1850. 
Choron et Fayolle. Dictionnaire historique des Musiciens. 

Chrysander. G. F. Handel. 3 vols. 1858, etc. Not yet 

Herakles von G. F. Handel. 1895. 



Chrysander. "Handel's Instrumental- Kompositionen fur 

grosses Orchester " in Vierteljahrsschrift fur Musikwissen- 

chaft. 1887. Vol. iii. 
Handel receiving the laurel from Apollo. A poem 

printed in 1724. Edited by Chrysander, 1859. 
Clark (Richard). Reminiscences of Handel, the Duke of 

Chandos, etc. London, 1836. 
(Eliza). Handel, Biography of. "The World's 

Workers." 1885. 
Coxe (Rev. W.). Anecdotes of G. F. Handel and J. C 

Smith. London, 1799. 

Crowdy. A short commentary on the Messiah. 1875. 
Crowest (F. J.). Handel and English Music, in Traill's 

" Social England," Vol. v. 
Culwick (J. C.). Handel's Messiah. Discovery of the original 

word-book. 1891. 
Cusins (W. G.). Handel's Messiah. 
David (Ernest). Vie de Handel. 
Delany (Mary). Autobiography of Mary Granville. Contains 

detailed account of Handel's death. 1861-2. 
Deutsche Haendelgesellschaft. Prefaces to the complete works 

of Handel, in 100 volumes, edited by Dr Chrysander, 

1853, etc. 

Dictionary of Musicians (published by Sainsbury). London, 1727. 
Dictionary of National Biography. Life of Handel in, by Fuller 

Maitland and Barclay Squire. 
Dixwell. Life of Handel. London, 1784. (Referred to in 

Critical Review for 1784). 

Elsasser (C.). Life of Handel. Melbourne, 1860. 
European Magazine, March 1784. An account of the Life of 


Fe"tis. Biographic universelle des Musiciens. 
FSrstemann (Karl Edward). G. F. Haendel's Stammbaum, 

nach Originalquellen und authentischen Nachrichten. 

Leipsic, 1844. 
Franz (R.). Cber Bearbeitungen alterer Tonwerke, Nament- 

lich Bachsche und Handel'scher Vocal-Musik. 1871. 
Introduction to " Der Messias, unter Zugrundelegung 

der Mozartschen Partitur." 1884. 



Frommel (E.). Handel und Bach. 1878. 

Gentleman's Magazine, April 1760. An Account of the Life 

of Handel. 

Various Numbers, from 1710 to 1770. 

Gervinus (G. G.). Handel's Oratorientexte. Ubersetzt von 

G. G. G. 1873. 

Handel und Shakespeare. 1868. 

G. F. Handel. Eine Biographic mit Portrait. Cassel, 1855. 
Grinfield (T.). Poetical rehearsal of Handel's Sacred Oratorio, 

The Messiah. 1856. 
Grove (Sir George). Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 

Two articles on Handel. 
Hadden (J. C). George Frederick Handel, in " Biographies 

of Great Composers." 1888. 
Handel Society. The prefaces to the Works of Handel, 16 

vols. London, 1844. By Crotch, Moscheles, Rimbault, 

Macfarren, Sterndale Bennett, and others. 
Hawkins. An Account of the Institution and Progress of the 

Academy of Ancient Music. London, 1770. 
(Sir John). History of Music, 5 vols. London, 1776 ; 

and New Edition, Novello, 1853. 

Heinrich (E.). G. F. Handel, ein deutscher Tonmeister. 1884. 
Herder (V.). Handel, dessen Lebensumstande. Leipsic, 1802. 
Hiller (J. A.). Nachricht von der AufFuhrung des Handelschen 

Messias, in der Domkirche zu Berlin den 19 Mai 1786 

Lebensbeschreibungen beriihmter Musikgelehrten. 

Leipsic, 1784. 
Hoptinstall. The Sacred Oratorios, etc., with Life of G. F. 

Handel. 1799. 
Hughes (W.). Remarks on Church Musick. To which are 

added several Observations on some of Mr Handel's 

Oratorios. 1763. 
Johnson (Hurlothrumbo, Esq.). "Harmony in an uproar" ; 

a letter to F-d-k H-d-1, Esq. 1733. 
Kade (Otto). Die erste drei Auffiihrungen des Messias in 


Kempen (F. J. van). G. F. Handel. Een leven. Leyden, 1868. 
King (John). Commemoration of Handel. 1819. 



Krause (C. C. F.). Darstellungen aus der Geschichte der 

Musik, pp. 155-170. 1827. 

Kretzschmar. Life of Handel in Waldersee's Sammlung. 
Kuester (H.). Ueber Handels Israel in Aegypten. 1854. 
Lady. Series of Reflections on the Messiah. By a Lady. 

Life of George Frederic Handel. Referred to in the Critical 

Review, September 1784, p. 240. 

London Chronicle, June 1760. Abstract of the Life of Handel. 
London Magazine. Various numbers from 1710 to 1770. 
Lover of Harmony, A. Remarks on music, to which are added 

several observations upon some of Mr Handel's oratorios. 

Worcester, 1758. 
Mainwaring. Memoirs of the Life of the late George Frederic 

Handel. London, 1760. 
Malcolm (James Peller). Manners and Customs of London 

during Eighteenth Century. 1811. Vol. ii. p. 213, con- 
tains a life of Handel. 
Marshall (Mrs Julian). Handel in Hueffer's "The Great 

Musicians." 1881. 
Marx (A. B.). t)ber die Geltung HandePscher Sologesange 

fur unsere Zeit. 1828. 
Matheson. G. F. Handel's Lebensbeschreibung. Hamburg, 

"Messiah." An oratorio, composed by Mr Handel. Libretto 

of. Dublin, 1745. 
Milde (Theodore). Ueber das Leben und die werke der 

beliebesten deutschen Dichter und Tonsetzer. 1834. 
Mimes (Keith). Memoir relating to the portrait of Handel by 

Francis Kyte. 1829. 
Moore (T.). Complete Encyclopedia of Music. Boston, 

Musical Times. Life of Handel. November 1888 et seq. 

Handel number. December 14, 1893. 

Newton (John). Fifty discourses on the Scriptural passages 

which form the subject of the celebrated oratorio (Messiah) 

of Handel. 1786. 

North (The Hon. Roger). Memoirs of Music. 1846. 
Ode to Mr Handel. 1745. 



Opel (J. O.) Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der Familie des 
Tonkiinstlers Handel, etc. 1885. 

Opel (J. O.). Zeitschrift fur allgemeine Geschichte. 1885. 
P. 156, article on Handel, father and son. 

Philharmonic Society of Melbourne. Handel Centenary Cele- 
bration. 1859. 

Play Pocket Companion (The London). 1789. 

Polko (Elise). Unsere Musikklassiker ; Lebensbild von 
Handel. 1880. 

Programmes and Books of Words of the several Handel 
Festivals at the Crystal Palace. 1859, etc. 

Programme Agency (The). The Story of the Messiah. 

Prout (Ebenezer). Articles in the Monthly Musical Record. 

Ramsay (E. B.). Two lectures on the Genius of Handel. 

Reichardt. G. F. Handel's Jugend. Berlin, 1786. 

Robinson (Pollingrove). Handel's Ghost, an ode on the power 
of the Messiah. Referred to in Critical Review. Sep- 
tember 1784. P. 240. 

Rochlitz. Notices in vols. i. and iv. of " Fur Freunde der 

Rockstro (W. S.). Life of Handel. 1883. 

Sachsen (Hans). Einfaltige Critique der Oper Julius Casar 
in Aegypten. Hamburg, 1725. 

Sacred Harmonic Society. Libretto of the Messiah^ with an 
analysis of the oratorio. 1853. 

Schaeffer (J.). Neue Bearbeitungen Handelscher Vocal-Com- 
positionen von R. Franz. 1880. 

F. Chrysander in seinen . . . Handel- Ausgabe. 1876. 

Sharp (R. Farquharson). Biography in " Makers of Music." 

Schcelcher (Victor). Life of Handel. London, 1857. 

Stothard (Anna Eliza). Handel, his life, personal and profes- 
sional. 1857. 

Streatfield (R. H.). The Case of the Handel Festival. 1897. 

Theatrical Register (The). MS. at the British Museum, con- 
taining advertisements and theatrical criticisms. 

Townsend (Horatio). An account of Handel's visit to Dublin. 


Walther. Lexicon. Leipsic, 1732. Article on Hendel. 
Webster (Clarinda A.). Handel : an outline of his life and 

epitome of his works. 1881. 
Weissebeck (J. M.). Der grosse Musikus Handel im Uni- 

versalruhme. Niirnberg, 1809. 

Winterfield (C. von.). " Alceste," 1726, von Handel. 1851. 
Words of all the favourite oratorios set to music by Mr 

Handel, etc. 1790. 
Volbach (F.). Handel, in H. Reimann's " Beruhmte Musiker." 




Academy of Ancient Music, The, was founded about 1710 for 
the study of vocal and instrumental music, and the collec- 
tion of a library, by a body of instrumentalists, amateur 
and professional. Its first conductor was Dr Pepusch, 
and the vocal parts were performed by the children and 
gentlemen of the Chapel Royal. It ceased to exist in 
1792. It met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern. (Grove's 

Arcadia. A society or " accademia," founded at Rome about 
1690 by poets and priests for the encouragement of art. 
Each member assumed a name as a " shepherd." Handel 
was unable to become a member, as he was not yet twenty- 
four years old when at Rome, but he was freely admitted 
to the meetings, which took place at the palace of the Mar- 
quis of Rusppli on the Esquiline hill. 

Arch-Lute. A kind of Theorbo or bass lute. 

Ariosti, Attilio, called by Schcelcher Attilio, born about 1660, 
died in obscurity. A Dominican monk, who gave up 
orders for the musical profession. Produced successful 
operas at Venice. In 1690 became capellmeister to the 
Electress of Brandenburg. In 1716 came to England 
and played a solo on the viola d'amore in Handel's 
Amadigi. Left England in 1728. He composed fifteen 
operas, an oratorio, and lessons for the viola d'amore. 

Baroness, The. " There was about that time a lady, a Ger- 
man, as is supposed, a fine singer, who sung in the operas 
abroad, and even at London, known by no other name 
than the Baroness" (Hawkins, vol. iv. p. 254). She sang 
in Lcminia, by Bononcini, and some other operas, and was 
the teacher of Anastasia Robinson. 



Basso de* Flauto, used in Giustino, the bass flute or recorder. 

Bononcini or Buononcini, John, born at Modena about 1672 
(Fttis). One of a family of musicians. Composed in all 
styles, but chiefly opera. Violoncellist at the court of 
Vienna about 1692, where he also distinguished himself 
as a composer. Produced operas at Rome, 1694, Vienna, 
1699. In 1702 he seems to have been attached to the 
court of the King of Prussia, where he had previously 
been in 1696. In 1716 he was invited to compose operas 
in London for the King's Theatre. Here he became the 
rival of Handel. The Duchess of Marlborough gave him 
a pension of .500 a year to compose for her. In 1731 
he was accused of passing off a madrigal by Lotti for his 
own, and in 1733 he left England to assist a certain Count 
Ughi to work out the secret of making gold. He soon 
left this imposter and went to Paris, then to Vienna, and 
afterwards to Venice as composer. The date of his death 
is unknown, but he was working at Venice at the age of 
eighty-four (Fttis). 

Buxtehude, born 1637, died 1707. One of the greatest 
organists of his time. Was organist of the Marienkirche 
at Liibeck. Bach walked from Arnstadt to hear him 
play, and was so fascinated that he overstayed his leave of 
absence by three months. 

Clavicymbal. A name for the harpsichord. The better class 
of this instrument had two key-boards, stops producing 
4, 8, and 16 feet effects, and often organ pedals. It 
was superseded by the modern grand pianoforte, which 
is similar in shape. 

Clayton, Thomas, a member of the royal band. Studied in 
Italy, from whence he brought a number of Italian songs 
which he worked up into an English opera, Arsinoe, and 
claimed the composition as his own. This being success- 
ful, he tried his hand at original compositions, in which he 
failed completely, especially in his setting of Addison's 
Rosamond and Dry den's Alexanders Feast. He was 
associated with Haym and Dieupart, in abortive efforts to 
establish opera at Drury Lane Theatre from 1707 to 1711. 

Dieupart, Charles. A French violinist and harpsichordist 



who, after the failure of his attempt with Haym and 
Clayton to establish English opera, took to teaching, 
afterwards to drinking, and died in poverty in 1740. 

Farinelli, Carlo Broschi, 1705-1782, said to be of noble birth, 
had the most beautiful (artificial) voice that was ever 
heard. A pupil of Porpora, he made his first appearance 
at Rome in an opera by his master. Here he had a 
contest with a trumpeter .of great reputation, whom he 
excelled in duration, brilliance, crescendo and diminuendo 
of a single note, and in wonderful shakes and other 
passages. Being beaten in a contest with Bernacchi, the 
" King of Singers," he became his pupil, and developed 
into the most remarkable singer that ever lived. From 
being the most brilliant, he changed his style, at the 
suggestion of the Emperor of Austria in 1731, and became 
the most pathetic of singers. Porpora engaged him to 
sing in London in 1734, as a rival attraction to Handel's 
opera-house. Here he sang with such rapidity that the 
violins could not keep up with him : the enthusiasm he 
inspired calling forth an ejaculation of a lady in the 
boxes, " One God, one Farinelli." He made an income 
of 5000 a year while in London, out of which he 
built a house in Italy, calling it "English Folly." He 
went to Spain, where he cured Philip V. of melancholy 
by his singing, and remained with him twenty-five 
years at a salary of ^2000. Under Philip's successor, 
Ferdinand VI., he became first favourite, of more 
influence than the prime-minister, and political adviser. 
His character was such, that in spite of his prosperity 
he never made any enemies, even amongst the courtiers, 
his rivals. He returned to Italy at the age of fifty-seven 
and lived the rest of his life at Bologna, where Burney 
met him. He was of a most estimable character, a rarity 
among Italian singers of those days. 

Flageolet. A kind of little flute, used chiefly by shepherds 
and country people (Grassineau). 

Flauto. The Flute-douce or Flute-a-bec, called also English 
flute or recorder. It was held vertically and had a whistle 
mouthpiece. Flauto traverse, the cross flute, called also 



German flute, the only kind used in the modern orchestra. 
The fife is a small flauto traverse. 

Gasparini, Francesco, 1665 (?)-i727. Pupil of Corelli. Maestro 
of the Chapter of St John Lateran, and master of Bene- 
detto Marcello, the amateur composer. He wrote thirty- 
two operas, some of which were performed in London, 
and a treatise on the art of playing from figured bass. 

Geminiani, 1680-1761. A famous pupil of Corelli, an excellent 
soloist, but not a good leader or conductor. He came to 
England in 1714, taught and played at the houses of the 
nobility, had a rage for buying pictures, and finally got 
into a debtor's prison. His pupil, Lord Essex, released 
him, and he was given a post as conductor at Dublin, 
though he never took it. He was a brilliant violinist, and 
wrote a treatise on the art of playing this instrument. He 
died at Dublin. 

German flute. See Flauto traverse. 

Haym, Nicolo Francesco, 16 1730 (?). A German, born at 
Rome. Settled in London and joined Dieupart and Clayton 
in endeavouring to establish opera. Arranged and com- 
posed several new operas, besides playing in the orchestra. 
Was the author of several of Handel's and Bononcini's 
librettos. Wrote a treatise on medals, two tragedies, and 
a treatise on rare Italian books, besides being the author 
of a MS. history of music in Italian. He was also a good 
etcher, to whom we are indebted for the only existing 
portraits of Tallis and Byrd. 

Haute-contre. See page 205. 

Heidegger, John James, 16^17 . A Fleming. Manager of 
the opera-house, by which, though it failed, he eventually 
acquired a large fortune. He was called the Swiss Count, 
was chiefly distinguished for his ugliness, which was 
frequently alluded to by poets and writers and carica- 
turists of the day. He wrote the libretto of Amadigi. He 
disappeared after the failure of his attempt to reopen the 
opera in 1738. 

Keiser, Reinhard. Born near Weissenfels, 1673, died at 
Copenhagen, 1739. Was a pupil at the Leipsic Thomas- 
schule and a student at the University. He is chiefly 



known for the remarkable influence he exercised on 
German opera by his forty years' exertions at Hamburg, 
whither he went in 1694. He was the first German to 
put dramatic force into music, and to hold his own 
against French and Italian operatic composers. He was 
also successful in oratorio. Matheson says that no 
other music than his was performed or listened to at 

Lotti, Antonio, born at Venice, 1667 (?). Died there 1740. 
Pupil of Legrenzi. Became organist of St Mark's, and 
after severe competition, Maestro di Capella, the other 
candidates being Porpora and Porta. Produced an 
immense amount of music, sacred and secular, of a very 
high order of merit. 

Lute, a pear-shaped instrument, probably of Persian origin, 
producing a peculiarly beautiful, though not powerful, tone. 
It had from six to twelve strings, sounded with the right 
hand, like those of a guitar, the left hand being employed 
to " stop " the strings on the neck, which was fretted. It 
was very troublesome to tune, and the strings constantly 
broke. This, with the weakness of its tone, caused it to 
gradually become obsolete after the middle of the i8th 

Nicolini, Grimaldi. i673(?)-i7 . Born at Naples, was at first 
an artificial soprano, but afterwards became a contralto. 
Made a great reputation in Italy, and appeared in London 
in 1708 in Scarlatti's Pyrrhus and Demetrius. He was a 
great actor as well as a great singer, an unusual combina- 
tion. He sang the chief part in Handel's Rinaldo and 
Amadigi, and finally left England in 1717. 

Ottoboni or Otthoboni, Cardinal Pietro. 1668-1740. A patron 
of art of all kinds, and the collector of a fine library, part 
of which is now in the Vatican library. He was a man 
of enormous wealth, and held numerous ecclesiastical 
appointments. He was a benefactor of the poor, was 
a composer of operas, oratorios, etc., and "made the 
greatest figure of any of the Cardinals, or any other 
person in Rome." 

Pepusch, John Christopher. 1667-1757. A great theorist, had 

R 257 


an appointment at the Prussian Court, but came to Eng- 
land in 1700, having been shocked at seeing an officer 
decapitated without trial for a trivial offence. After playing 
in the orchestra at Drury Lane, and doing various kinds 
of musical work there, he became organist and composer to 
the Duke of Chandos, which posts he resigned in favour 
of Handel. He took the Doctor's degree at Oxford in 
1713, and became music director of the theatre at Lincoln's 
Inn Fields, for which he composed several masques, and 
arranged the Beggar's Opera. He married Margarita de 
1'Epine, who brought him a dowry of ,10,000, which 
enabled him to carry on his studies in Greek and other 
ancient music, besides publishing a treatise on Harmony 
and other works. He was an active member of the 
Academy of Ancient Music, and in 1737 became organist 
of the Charterhouse. He was also a great teacher; 
Travers, Boyce, and Cooke were among his pupils. 

Ripieno. Extra parts for violins and violas were added in 
forte or tutti passages, in order, says Grassineau, "to 
give the music more grandeur." These parts, called 
"ripieno" or "full," were either independent of, or in 
unison with, the chief violin and viola parts. They were 
usually intrusted to the less accomplished performers. 

Robinson, Anastasia. 16 1750. Was descended from a good 
Leicestershire family. Her father was a portrait-painter, 
who, becoming blind, was unable to support her. She 
therefore became a pupil of Croft, Sandoni and the 
Baroness, and sang at the opera for some years, till she 
became the wife of the Earl of Peterborough, privately 
at first, though just before his death he made the fact 
public. She was never a first-class singer ; her intona- 
tion was defective, though her voice was good. She sang 
in many of Handel's operas with fair success. 

Scarlatti, Alessandro. 1659-1725. Founder of the Neapolitan 
school of opera. Maestro to the Queen of Sweden. Was 
the first to bring the Da Capo aria into general use, and 
to use accompanied recitative. Became Maestro to the 
Viceroy of Naples, 1694, assistant Maestro at Sta Maria 
Maggiore in Rome, 1703, and chief Maestro, 1707. Re- 



turned to Naples, 1709. A most prolific composer for 
both church and theatre. Was teacher at three Naples 
Conservatories, where he trained a number of pupils who 
became distinguished. 

Scarlatti, Domenico or Girolamo, son of Alessandro. 
1683-1757. A great harpsichordist and successful opera 
composer. In 1715 became Maestro of St Peter's at 
Rome. Produced an opera in London in 1719, and in 
Lisbon, 1721. Music master to the Spanish Court, 
1729-1754. He left his family in poverty through his 
habit of gambling, but they were helped by Farinelli. 
He composed an enormous number of short harpsi- 
chord pieces, and did much to develop the technique 
of that instrument. 

Senesino, Francesco Bernardi. 1680-1750. One of the most 
famous artificial sopranos of the i8th century, came 
from Dresden in 1720, and sang in Bononcini's Astarto, 
afterwards singing in the greater number of Handel's 
operas. He left England in 1726, but returned for 
Admeto in 1727. He left again after the failure of the 
Royal Academy, returning to sing for Handel in 1730, 
with whom he finally quarrelled in 1733. During the 
next two seasons he sang for the opposition theatre, 
and then retired from public life. His voice was mezzo- 
soprano. Hawkins gives his portrait. 

Steffani, Agostino. 1655-1739. Of obscure parentage, a choir 
boy of St Mark's, Venice, and afterwards of Munich, 
where he was apprenticed to Kerl the organist. On 
leaving Kerl he became a Court musician, and went 
to Rome to finish his studies. In 1860, after a 
course of mathematics, philosophy and theology, he 
was ordained as priest, with the title of Abbate of 
Lepsing. In 1689 he became Capellmeister to the 
Court of Hanover, where a very high intellectual stan- 
dard prevailed, through the influence of the Electress 
Sophia ; but he gave up this for diplomatic work, for which 
he was eminently fitted, becoming eventually Ambassador 
at Brussels, and the Pope's Protonotarius. Meanwhile 
he did not cease to compose he had produced many 

R* 259 


operas, and much church and chamber music of most im- 
portant calibre, and Handel learned a great deal from 
him, besides making use of some of his themes. He had 
a European reputation, and in some parts no music was 
thought equal to his. Handel succeeded him at Hanover 
when he gave up his Capellmeistership for diplomacy. 
He was an honorary member of the London Academy of 
Ancient Music. Handel met him at Ottoboni's house in 
Rome and heard him sing, in 1729, at the age of 74. 

Tesi, Vittoria. 1690-1775. Called Tramonti, studied under Redi 
and Campeggi. Made her first appearance at Bologna, 
afterwards sang at Florence, Venice, Naples, Milan and 
Vienna, where Burney met her when she was 80 years old. 
She was also a good teacher (Fe'tis). She had a contralto 
voice of masculine strength and sometimes sang airs in- 
tended for a bass her voice was also of extraordinary 
compass (Chrysander). Burney relates that a certain count 
wishing to marry her, she did her best to dissuade him 
from a step that would bring disgrace on him and his 
family, but finding her efforts of no avail, she secretly 
left her house one morning and offered a baker's apprentice 
50 ducats to marry her, not to live with her as man and 
wife, but simply that she might tell the count she was 
already married and so save him from his proposed step 
and 'herself from his attentions. Chrysander does not 
believe Mainwaring's story of her having fallen in love 
with Handel. 

Theorbo. A lute with a double head containing two sets of 

Traversa. See Flauto. 

Valeriano, Cavaliere Pellegrini, had a counter tenor (alto) voice 
of great beauty. Sang the chief parts in Pastor Fido and 
Teseo on their first production. Little is known of his 
life ; Fe'tis does not even mention him. 

Viola da Gamba. The leg-viol or bass-viol, with six strings, 
and a fretted fingerboard. It was superseded by the 
more powerful violoncello. 

Violetta. A small viola. 

Marina. A kind of viola with sympathetic strings. 



Introduced by Castrucci into England in 1715, and used 
by Handel in Orlando, 1732. 

Zachau, Friedrich Wilhelm, son of a town musician at Leipsic, 
born 1663, died 1712. "One of the best and most in- 
dustrious musicians of his time" (Grove's Dictionary). 
In 1684 became organist of the Liebfrauenkirche of Halle. 
He is chiefly known as the first teacher of Handel, who 
always spoke of him with the greatest respect, and fre- 
quently sent remittances to his widow. 



ACADEMY of Ancient Music, 1 18, 


Academy of Ancient Music, 253 
Accompanied Recitative, I 
Addison, 49, 5 1, 52 
Additional Accompaniments, 

230, 231 

Amadis, a Burlesque, 64 
Andrews, Mr, 56 
Anne, Princess, 72, 98 
Anne, Queen, 52, 53, 60-62, 66 
Anspach, 69 
Antinori, 101 

Arbuthnot, 56, 106, 137, 151 
Acadians, the, 37, 38, 253 
Arch-Lute, 253 
Ariosti, 13, 79, 85, 91, 93, 98, 

"4, 253 

Arne, 96, 120, 140, 147 
Arnold, 55 
Arrigoni, 136 
Avolio, 157, 159 

BABELL, William, 54 
Bach, Emmanuel, 13 
Bach, J. S., i, 17, 29, 39, 66, 

72, 81, 115 
Baldassarri, 80, 90 
Baldi, 101 
Banister, John, 48 
Barbier, Mrs, 56 
Barn Elms, Handel at, 56 
Bates, 182, 183 

Beard, 140, 160 

Beethoven, 135, 193, 195 

Beggar's Opera, 52, 95, 101, 
1 10- 1 12, 142, 258 

Berenstadt, 81 

Bernardi, 80 

Berlin, opera at, 12 

Bernacchi, 115 

Berselli, 81 

Bishop of London, 109 

Blow, Dr, 150 

Bononcini, G., 13, 49, 57, 63, 
79, 85-93, 97, 105, 113, 121, 
134, 136, 197, 222, 254 

Borrowings, Handel's, 219-224 

Boschi, 42, 81, 85, 90, 101, 106 

Boyce, Dr, 147 

Brind, 56 

Britton, Thomas, 53 

Brown, Lady, 163 

Burlington, Earl of, 56, 58, 61, 


Burlington House, 57, 63 

Burney, Dr, 156 

Busby, 50 

Buxtehude, 3, 20, 254 

Byron, Epigram on the rival com- 
posers, 88 

Campioli, 117 
Canons, 57, 69, 71, 75 
Capizucchi, 37 



Caporale, 204 

Car a sflosa, 52 

Carestini 133-140, 194 

Carey, 88, 147 

Caricature by Goupy, 128 

Carissimi, 3, 221 

Caroline, Princess, 55, 98 

Cartwright, Lady, 56 

Castrucci, 118, 204 

Chandos, Duke of, 69, 75, 79 

Chesterfield, Lord, 63, 146 

Church, John, 108 

Church Music, I, 2 

Gibber, Mrs, 159 

Clarionets, 226 

Clark, Richard, 74 

Clavichord, 9 

Clavicymbal, 254 

Clayton, Thomas, 49, 51, 140,254 

Clegg, 204 

Clement XL, Pope, 41 

Clive, Mrs, 160 

Cluer, 72, 93, 105, 117 

Colman, 116 

Colonna, Cardinal, 115 

Comedians at the Haymarket 

Theatre, 82 
Congreve, 49 
Conradi, 19 
Constantini, 101 
Corelli, 3, 38, 40, 54, 19$, 256. 
Counterpoint, 3 
Creake, 93 
Crescimbeni, 37 
Croft, Dr, 108 
Cuzzoni, 90, 94, 101-106, no, 

135, 139, 203. 

DIEUPART, Charles, 48, 254 
Double-bassoon, 109 
Dragon of Wantley, 142 
Driisicke, 29 

Dubourg, Matthew, 54, 159, 178 

191, 204 

Durastanti, 80, 87, 133 
Durfey, 49 


England, opera in, 47 
Erba's Magnificat, 220 

FABRI, 116 

Falsa immagine, 91 

Farinelli, 2, 133, 135, 142, 255 

Faustina, 101-106, 203 

Festing, 147 

Festivals, Handel, 182 

Feustking, 23, 28 

Flageolet, 205, 255 

Florence, Handel at, 31, 32 

Florence, music at, 32, 33 

Foundling Hospital, 167-170, 

179, 196 

Fountayne and Handel, 145 
Frederick the Great, 199 
Freeman, John, 108 

Galilei, 32 
Galli, 161 
Gasparini, 34, 256 
Gates, Bernhard, 108, 118 
Gay, 56,61 

Geminiani, 66, 197, 256 
George L, 44, 54, 61-66, 71, 98, 


George II., 108, 114, 146, 161 
George III., 180, 198 
Giovanni, C. C., 50 
Gluck, 193 

Goldberg Variations, 72 
Goupy, 128, 196 
Granville, letter to, 176 
Greber, 49 



Greek Modes, 67, 68 
Green, blind organist, 4 
Greene, Dr Maurice, 57, 108, 

123, 136, 147, 150, 197 
Grimaldi, 50 
Griselda, 88, 90, 118 

HAMBURG, theatre at, 18, 19 

Hamilton, Newburgh, 140, 152 

Handel, Georg, 5, 14 

Handel, G. F., birth of, 6 ; 
early years, 7; learns the 
clavichord by stealth, 9 ; visits 
Weissenfels, 9, 10 ; placed 
under Zachau, II ; visits 
Berlin, 12, 13 ; enters Uni- 
versity of Halle, 14 ; ap- 
pointed organist of Halle 
Cathedral, 15 ; goes to Ham- 
burg, 17; visits Liibeck, 20; 
duel with Matheson, 22 ; goes 
to Italy, 31 ; goes to Hanover 
(1710), 44; goes to London 
(1710), 46; goes to Hanover 
(1711), 54 ; returns to London 
(1712), 55; engaged by Mac- 
Swiney, 55 ; outstays his leave 
of absence, 61 ; is reconciled 
to George L, 65 ; visits Halle 
and Anspach, 69 ; pensions, 
60, 65, 66, 106 ; is ap- 
pointed chapelmaster to the 
Duke of Chandos, 69, 70; 
is engaged by the Royal 
Academy of Music, 79 ; 
goes to Dresden to find singers, 
79 ; visits Halle, 81 ; becomes 
a householder, 97 ; his savings 
and recreations, 98; becomes 
a British subject, 100; partner- 
ship with Heidegger, 114; 
visits Oxford, 130 ; refuses a 

degree, 132; in partnership 
with Rich, 138; ruined, 141; 
goes to Aix, 142, 143; statue 
erected to him in Vauxhall 
Gardens, 145 ; goes to Dublin, 
154; bankrupt, 162; pays his 
debts and becomes a Governor 
of the Foundling Hospital, 
169; becomes blind, 172; 
amasses .20,000, 174 ; illness 
and death, 175 ; his will, 177, 
185 ; portraits, 180 ; char- 
acter, 184; personal appear- 
ance, 1 86; anecdotes, 187; 
accused of a love of noise, 229 

Compositions : 

Act, Galatea e Polifemo, 42, 43, 
71, 225; Ads and Galatea, 
59. 7i. 95. 121, 137, 141, 151, 
152, 157, 183, 184, 193, 224, 
225; Admeto, 105, 107, 113; 
Agrippina, 34, 35, 84, 206; 
Alcina, 139 ; Alessandro, 101, 
103, renamed Roxana, 165 ; 
Alexander Balus, 165 ; Alex- 
ander Severus, 144 ; Alex- 
ander's Feast, 140, 141, 147, 
150, 151, 173 ; Almira, 23, 31, 
33, 206 ; Amadigi, 63, 64, 69, 
253. 2 57; Arbaces, 136; 
Ariadne, or Arianna, 137- 
139; Ariodante, 139; Armi- 
nius, 141 ; Atalanta, 141 ; 
Athaliah, 132, 133, 137, 139; 
Belshazzar, 162 ; Berenice, 
141 ; Birthday Ode, 60; 
Caius Fabricius, 136; Chamber 
Music, 228 ; Chandos Anthems, 
7O> I 37 > Choice of Hercules, 
171 ; Coronation Anthems, 108; 
Deborah, 60, 66, 123, 129, 



132, 137, 183 ; Deidamia, 
153, 208 ; Dettingen Te Deum, 
161, 221, 223; Dido, 141; 
Dixit dominus, 31, 32; Duets 
and Cantatas (1712), 55 ; 
Esther, 118, 119, 121, 129, 
131, 139, 141, 183; Ezio, 
117 ; Fire Music, 166 ; Flavio, 
91; Floridante, 87, 118; 
Florindo, 29 ; French Can- 
zonets composed at Naples, 43 ; 
Funeral Anthem, 144, 149 ; 
Giulio Ccesare, 67, 93, 208, 
223 ; Giustino, 141 ; 142, 
208; Hercules, 162, 183; // 
Pastor Fido, 55, 58, 137, 138, 
207, 260 ; Imeneo, 153 ; Israel 
in Egypt, 123, 149, 183, 206, 
219 - 221 ; Jephtha, 35, 171, 
173, 192, 221 ; Joseph and 
his Brethren, 161 ; Joshua, 
165, 221, 228; Judas Macca- 
beus, 35, 164, 1 68, 175, 183, 
194, 218, 221, 228 ; Julius 
Casar, see Giulio Ccesare ; 
Jupiter in Argos, 1 50 ; L' alle- 
gro, il penseroso ed il moder- 
ate, 151, 153, 157 ; La 
Resurrezione, 36 ; Laudate 
pueri, 32; Lotario, 116; 
Lucius Verus, 164 ; Lucretia, 
31 ; Messiah, 43, 54, 154, '57, 
160 ; first performance in Lon- 
don, 161 and 191 ; 166, 167, 
172, 175, 182,183, 196 Com- 
pared with Bach's Passion 
Music, 212, 213-219, 225, 
228 ; Muzio Scevola, 86, 197 ; 
Nero, 28 ; Nisi dominus, 32 ; 
Oboe Concertos, 137 ; Occasional 
Oratorio, 163 ; Ode for St 
Cecilia's Day, 150, 151, 183, 

221, 230 ; Orestes, 139 ; Organ 
Concertos, 148, 226-228.; Or- 
lando, 1 1 8, 129, 204, 208; 
Ottone, 90, 91, 165, 207 ; 
Parnasso in Festa, 137, 184 ; 
Partenope, 116; Partenza di 
G. B., 41 ; Passion Music 
(1704), 30, 71, 85 ; Passion 
Music (1717), 66; Radamisto, 
83-85, 207 ; Resurrezione, La, 
38, 40, 64 ; Riccardo Primo, 
no; Rinaldo, 52, 54, 63, 69, 
III, 117, 205-208, 257 ; Rode- 
linda, 94, 95, 116; Rodrigo, 
32, 33, 34, 206 ; Samson, 160, 
161, 175, 183, 221 ; Saul, 140, 
148, 149, 183, 221, 223; 
Scipio, 100, 116 ; Semele, 161 ; 
Semiramis, 136; 5<?^<?, 144, 
208 ; .& / non laxi amore, 
42 ; Seven Sonatas or Trios, 
151 ; Silete venti, 85 ; &7/a, 
63, 64 ; Siroe, 95, 1 10 ; Solo- 
mon, 165, 175 ; Sonatas for 
two Oboes and a Bassoon, 12 ; 
Sosarme, 94, 117, 137; Suites 
(1720), 72; Susanna, 165, 
175; Tamer lano, 94; 7>r/>- 
sichore, 139; 7fe0, 58, 59, 
258 ; Theodora, 167, 221 ; 
Trionfo del Tempo edelDisin- 
ganno, 40, 141 ; Triumph of 
Time and Truth, 35, 175; 
Twelve Grand Concertos, 151, 
225 ; Utrecht Te Deum and 
Jubilate, 60, 61, 71, 102, 183; 
Water Music, 64, 65 
Handel Societies, 232 
Handel, spelling of name, 5 
Hanover, discussion at, 10 
Hanover, Elector of, 54 
Hanover, Prince of, 36 



Harmonious Blacksmith, the, 

74, 75 

Harpsichord, Handel's, 180, 197 
Hasse, 115, 138 
Haydn, 165 
Haym, 50, 58, 79, 91, no, 254, 


Hearne, Thomas, 130 
Heidegger, 63, 78, 90, 92, 114, 

126, 135, 138, 144, 147, 256 
Hendel, Valentine, 5 
Hill, Aaron, 51, 122 
Hinsch, 29 
Holmes, Vice- chancellor of 

Oxford, 130 
Hughes, Francis, 108 

ITALIAN music, i 
Instrumental music, I, 3 

JANSON, 156 

Jennens, 139, 154, 159, 179 

REISER, 2, 19, 29, 256 
Kielmansegge, Baron, 44, 64 
Kuknau, 21 
Kytch, 147 

LAMPE, 142, 204 
Largo, the well known, 208 
Lascia CKiopianga, 24, 52 
Laura, Donna, of Naples, 43 
Leipsic, church music at, 16 
Leo, Leonardo, 53 
L'Epine, 50, 56, 258 
Leporin, 15 
Leveridge, 48, 56, 147 
Lintott, 74 
Lock, Daniel, 38 
Lock, Matthew, 48 
Lotti, 34, 80, 257 
Lulli, I, 47 

Lute, 257 


MacSwiney, Owen, 49, 50, 55, 

Mancini, 50 
Marcello, 38, 256 
Marchand, 8 1 
Maryborough, Duke of, 134 
Marylebone Gardens, 48 
Matheson, 19-21, 29, 30, 66, 67, 

140, 227 
Mattei, 86 
Mauro, 55 
Meares, Richard, 84 
Medeci, Prince Gaston de, 30, 

31, 34 

Menantes, 23 
Merighi, 115, 117 
Metastasio, no 
Michaelsen, Dr, 45, 115 ; 

letters to, 75, 99 
Michaelsen, Johanna, 54 
Montagnana, 117, 125, 133, 135 
Morell, Dr, 164, 190 
Mornington, Lord, 156 
Motteux, 49, 50 
Mozart, 135, 230, 231 
Musicians, social position of, 4, 7 
Musicians Company, 5 

NAPLES, Journey to, 41 

Negri, 133 

Nicolini, 52, 56, 64, 257 

OBSOLETE instruments used by 

Handel, 205 
Oettinger, 5 

Opera, condition of, 200 
Opera in England, 47 
Oratorio, 19 
Oratorios, Handel's, 211 



Ottoboni, 38, 50, 257 


Pamphili, 39 

Pansili, 40, 175 

Paolucci, 37 

Pasquini, 38 

Passion Music, 3 

Pedals, organ, 56, 227 

Pepusch, 14, 49, 70, 90, 147, 

197, 253, 257 
Pergolesi, 115 
Peri, 32 

Peterborough, Earl of, 64, 121 
Pfalz, Elector of the, 46 
Piantanida, 149 
Pifferari, 43 
Pinacci, 117 
Pipe, 86 

Pb, Del, 120, 144, 145 
Politics and music, 88 
Pope, 56, 150 

Porpora, 115, 136, 138, 142, 255 
Porta, 83 
Postel, 19, 30 
Powell, harpist, 204 
Powell, William, 74 
Purcell, H., 2, 47, 60, 150 

RANDALL, John, 118 
Ranelagh Gardens, 48 
Reimschneider, 116 
Rich, 50, 96, 107, 138, 179 
Ridottos, 92 

Robinson, Mrs, 64, 121, 258 
Rolli, 82, 87-89, 100, no, 124 
Rome, Handel at, 31, 37 
Roseingrave, 85, 197 
Rossi, 51, 52, 56 
Roubiliac, 145, 177 
Royal Academy of Music, 78, 
106-109, 113, 114 

Royal Society of Musicians, 146, 

178, 184 
Roxana, 165 

Ruspoli, Marchese, 37, 38 
Russell, 163 
Rutland, Duke of, 98 

SACRED words to operatic 

songs, 94 

St Paul's, organ at, 56, 98 
Salvai, 81 

Sandoni, 87, 90, 258 
Sauerbrey, 29 
Saxony, Elector of, 79, 81. 
Scarlatti, A., 38, 41, 50, 203, 


Scarlatti, D., 34, 35, 39, 85, 259 
Schiavonetti, 56, 64 
Schroder, 108. 
Schutz, H., 1 8 
Senesino, 80, 90, 92, 93, 101- 

107, 121, 135, 142, 259 
Serpent, 166 
Shield, 165 
Singers, 2 
Singspiel, I, 18 
Sisters, Handel's, 45, 75 
Smith, J. C., the elder, 69, 178, 

179, 185, 196 
Smith, J. C., the younger, 173, 

185, 197 
Smollett, 163 
Smyth, James, 176 
Snow, Valentine, 160, 204 
Solmisation, 67 
Sophia, Charlotte, of Hanover, 


Spectator, The, 51 
Stampiglia, 37, 49 
Stanesby, 109 
Stanley, 173, I79> 19* 
Stanzani, 49 



Steele, 51, 52, 83 

Steffani, 12, 34, 44, 114, 259 

Strada, 116, 120, 125, 133, 140 

Stradirarius, 3 

Street music, 8 

Suites, 4 

Swift, 88 

Tartini, 3 
Tatler, 51 
Taust, 5, 178 
Teleman, 16, 66 
Tesi, 34, 260 
Theatres in London, 84 
Town musicians, 4 


Urio's Te Deum, 221-224 

VALERIANO, 56, 260 
Vanbrugh, Sir John, 49 

Vauxhall, 48 
Venice, 4 

,, Handel at, 37 
Vico, 64 
Vinci, 115 

Viva il caro Sassone, 34, 36 
Vivaldi, 3 

WALPOLE, 127, 160 

Walsh, 52, 54, 89, 95, 105, 117, 
140, 146, 164 

Waltz, 96, 193 

Weidemann, 204 

Weldon, John, 48 

Wheely, Samuel, 108 

Whitchurch, organ at, 70-72 

Wick, John, English ambas- 
sador at Hamburg, 19 

Zachau, n, 12, 14, 45, 55,69, 

Zenobia, 85 


^ a